In the present work, extraction with a solvent (cold acetone) was used to extract the assimilation pigments from spinach leaves. Then, the sorption capacity of selected plastics granules (polyvinyl chloride—PVC, polypropylene—PP, polyethylene—PE of different densities) was tested for the selective isolation of chlorophylls. Quantification of chlorophylls by HPLC (Zorbax Eclipse XDB-C18 column, the mobile phase: Acetonitrile/methanol/ethyl acetate 6:2:2, v
) was based on chlorophyll-a content as the most common chlorophyll. The performed experiments prove that PVC containing electronegative chlorine exhibits favorable interactions toward chlorophyll by creating stable molecular complexes. The Fourier Transform Raman Spectroscopy (FT-Raman) and the molecular modeling were used to elucidate the structure of the created complexes. The optimal extraction requirements, the mass of sorbent, water-acetone ratio, time, and the composition of the elution solvent were all established. The optimized extraction conditions ensured a maximum extraction yield of chlorophylls of 98%. The chlorophyll-rich sorbent was re-extracted by acetone, leading to the recovery of 91% of chlorophylls in one step, adding the possibility of its re-use. The proposed effective and ecological method of obtaining the green dye from plants is cheap, simple, and efficient, avoiding organic solvents, utilizing the most widely used synthetic polymers in the world, being products difficult for utilization. The possibility to remove chosen fungicides cyprodinil, chlorothalonil, and thiabendazone from plant extract by PVC was also examined. The described method proposes a new application of synthetic polymers, which meets the criteria of sustainable green chemistry, simultaneously reaching the growing demand for pure natural compounds in the pharmaceutical and food industries.
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