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Accelerated Solvent Extraction for Safe and Efficient Analysis of Phytochemicals


Biologically active chemicals found in fruits and vegetables as well as non-food plants have garnered increasing interest from growers, processors, nutritionists and the public in recent years. The extraction, purification and analysis of these phytochemicals from complex plant matrices are often difficult, labor-intensive, and costly procedures that routinely require the use of toxic solvents. <P>Newer extraction systems, even with their inherent limitations, have increased efficiency and greatly reduced hazardous analytical wastestreams. Accelerated solvent extraction (ASE) offers maximum versatility for phytochemical extraction from a wide variety of matrices, as the temperature, pressure and solvent concentration parameters are easily controlled for optimal separation of target analytes. <P>This technology, coupled with a semi-preparative liquid chromatograph (semi-prep LC) and a fraction collector provides a powerful system that enables efficient extraction and clean-up of a wide range of phytochemicals and biologically active compounds from a variety of complex matrices.

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Non-Technical Summary: It is often time consuming, expensive and hazardous to extract chemicals from foods for further analysis. Current extraction techniques necessary for quantifying both beneficial and toxic compounds in foods often require the use of dangerous solvents which expose the laboratory worker to health hazards, and simultaneously add to the waste stream. These solvents are often expensive to purchase and even more costly to dispose of properly. The accelerated solvent extraction system (ASE) purchased for this project will allow the researchers to extract targeted chemicals in various foods with smaller volumes of safer solvents. It is also hoped that the techniques developed from this project will lead to faster, more efficient extraction of a number of chemical compounds. <P> Approach: The ASE Extraction & Semi-Prep instrumentation described in this proposal will enhance the ability of the Food Chemical Safety Laboratory to extract and purify bioactives such as capsinoids, capsaicinoids, anthocyanins and ginsenocides and allow for in-house production of analytical standards, which are currently not commercially available or are cost prohibitive. This equipment will further support study of other emerging bioactives, development and evaluation of value-added local products (which are a crucial component of the Maine economy), provide outstanding cutting-edge training and research opportunities to a varied student population and create new collaborative opportunities.

Perkins, L. Brian
University of Maine
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