Indexed on: 24 Jul '14Published on: 24 Jul '14Published in: Food Chemistry
Phytochemicals, such as phenolic compounds, are of great interest due to their health-benefitting antioxidant properties and possible protection against inflammation, cardiovascular diseases and certain types of cancer. Maximum retention of these phytochemicals during extraction requires optimised process parameter conditions. A microwave-assisted extraction (MAE) method was investigated for extraction of total phenolics from Myrtus communis leaves. The total phenolic capacity (TPC) of leaf extracts at optimised MAE conditions was compared with ultrasound-assisted extraction (UAE) and conventional solvent extraction (CSE). The influence of extraction parameters including ethanol concentration, microwave power, irradiation time and solvent-to-solid ratio on the extraction of TPC was modeled by using a second-order regression equation. The optimal MAE conditions were 42% ethanol concentration, 500 W microwave power, 62 s irradiation time and 32 mL/g solvent to material ratio. Ethanol concentration and liquid-to-solid ratio were the significant parameters for the extraction process (p<0.01). Under the MAE optimised conditions, the recovery of TPC was 162.49 ± 16.95 mg gallic acidequivalent/gdry weight(DW), approximating the predicted content (166.13 mg GAE/g DW). When bioactive phytochemicals extracted from Myrtus leaves using MAE compared with UAE and CSE, it was also observed that tannins (32.65 ± 0.01 mg/g), total flavonoids (5.02 ± 0.05 mg QE/g) and antioxidant activities (38.20 ± 1.08 μg GAE/mL) in MAE extracts were higher than the other two extracts. These findings further illustrate that extraction of bioactive phytochemicals from plant materials using MAE method consumes less extraction solvent and saves time.