The bioactive compounds in myrtle berries, such as phenolic compounds and anthocyanins, have shown a potentially positive effect on human health. Efficient extraction methods are to be used to obtain maximum amounts of such beneficial compounds from myrtle. For that reason, this study evaluates the effectiveness of a rapid ultrasound-assisted method (UAE) to extract anthocyanins and phenolic compounds from myrtle berries. The influence of solvent composition, as well as pH, temperature, ultrasound amplitude, cycle and solvent-sample ratio on the total phenolic compounds and anthocyanins content in the extracts obtained were evaluated. The response variables were optimized by means of a Box-Behnken design. It was found that the double interaction of the methanol composition and the cycle, the interaction between methanol composition and temperature, and the interaction between the cycle and solvent-sample ratio were the most influential variables on the extraction of total phenolic compounds (92.8% methanol in water, 0.2 s of cycle, 60 °C and 10:0.5 mL:g). The methanol composition and the interaction between methanol composition and pH were the most influential variables on the extraction of anthocyanins (74.1% methanol in water at pH 7). The methods that have been developed presented high repeatability and intermediate precision (RSD < 5%) and the bioactive compounds show a high recovery with short extraction times. Both methods were used to analyze the composition of the bioactive compounds in myrtle berries collected from different locations in the province of Cadiz (Spain). The results obtained by UAE were compared to those achieved in a previous study where microwave-assisted extraction (MAE) methods were employed. Similar extraction yields were obtained for phenolic compounds and anthocyanins by MAE and UAE under optimal conditions. However, UAE presents the advantage of using milder conditions for the extraction of anthocyanins from myrtle, which makes of this a more suitable method for the extraction of these degradable compounds.
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