Phenolic compounds extraction of Arbutus unedo L. Process intensification by microwave pretreatment

Agostinho M.R.C. Alexandre, Ana A. Matias, Maria Rosário Bronze, Maria Jose Cocero, Rafael Mato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Arbutus unedo L., commonly known as the strawberry-tree fruit, is an endemic species of the Mediterranean flora. Microwave extraction technology has been considered as a fast and "green" method for the production of extracts rich in bioactive compounds, although the energy consumption is high. To overcome this bottleneck, microwave was used as a pretreatment procedure in short time periods. This technique promotes the burst of intracellular vacuoles leading to an increase in the lixiviation of phenolic compounds. Different approaches were tested, namely a solvent-free irradiation (SFI), a solvent-assisted irradiation (SAI) and a pressurized solvent-assisted irradiation (PSAI). After irradiation, a solid-liquid extraction procedure was performed using a mixture of water and ethanol. A kinetic evaluation of the total phenolic content (TPC) was performed using the Folin-Ciocalteu method. For the total anthocyanin content, a UV-spectrophotometric method was used. HPLC-UV and LC-MS were used for TPC and identification of present compounds. Microwave irradiation led to an increase in TPC of extracts after SAI (52%) and PSAI (66%) along with a reduction in time of extraction from 30 min to less than 2 min. The anthocyanin content also increased by 66% for the SAI and PSAI extractions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number298
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


  • Arbutus unedo
  • Microwave pretreatment
  • Phenolic compounds
  • Process intensification


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