Potent passion fruit: Liquid extraction for bioactive compounds 'clean and fast'

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / piyaset
© Getty Images / piyaset
A Brazilian University has developed an extraction method to obtain bioactive compounds from passion fruit peel more efficiently, enabling industry to upscale production and use.

Passion fruit (Passiflora edulis​ sp) is native to southern Brazil, Paraguay and northern Argentina and renowned for its nutrient density, containing vitamins A and C as well as a range of antioxidants.

Writing in the international patent,​ the team of researchers from the University of Campinas in Brazil said they had used pressurized liquid extraction (PLE) to recover an extract rich in phenolic compounds like orientin, vitexin and vicenin.

Plant power – scaling up potential

The researchers said that in recent years, bioactive-rich plant extracts had gained a “significant share in the market”. ​It was therefore important, they said, to develop efficient extraction techniques.

Conventional methods that used atmospheric pressure, they said, were less efficient in terms of the yield versus time and solvent use. Compared to Soxhlet extraction and maceration, for example, the researchers said the PLE extraction gave an overall higher throughput, higher total phenolic content and higher content of different phenolic compounds.

“Because of these facts, extraction processes using pressurized fluids are very important and highly desirable since they consist of clean and fast extraction techniques, whose resulting extract is considered safe and can be used in food, pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, food and cosmetic industries.”

“...The developed technology is a continuous extraction method that allows free solvent solution to permeate the pores of the particles of the raw material, intensifying extraction,” ​they wrote.

Patents IP © Getty Images Olivier Le Moal
© Getty Images / Olivier Le Moal

Because of this, the researchers said it was easier to scale-up the process and apply the extract in food, pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals and cosmetics on a large scale. The shorter extraction time of 20 minutes was also a bonus, they said.

Whilst the PLE method had previously been used in bioactive compound extraction from fruit, the researchers said this method were more “dynamic” ​and methods differed from earlier attempts.

Most notably, the solvent flow rate was16kg/kg versus a previous S/V of 10 and extraction time was quicker at just 20 minutes, compared to 60 minutes in previously documented methods. In addition, they said this method obtained different phenolic compounds from the passion fruit.

Pressurized liquid extraction

The researchers said industry could either use fresh or dehydrated passion fruit peel for the extraction but it was important the peel was ground to a particle size less than 2mm in diameter.

In terms of pressure, they said the best range was between 5-40 Mpa, ideally maintained at 10MPa and temperatures could range between 30-100°C, although a steady 60°C was ideal.

The ratio of ethanol versus water could be anywhere between 60-100% w/w, ideally 70% w/w.

Source: WIPO International Patent No. WO2018112574
Published: June 28, 2018. Filed: December 7, 2017.
Title: “Process of pressurized liquid extraction of bioactive compounds from passion fruit skin and use of said bioactive compounds”
Authors: University of Campinas, Brazil

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