The alkaloid ricinine (3-cyano-4-methoxy-N-methyl-2-pyridone) is found in different parts of the Ricinus communis
plant and is known to possess several bioactive properties, including strong antioxidant activity. In this study, a new microwave-assisted extraction (MAE) method was developed for the recovery of ricinine from R. communis
leaves. The extraction variables studied were extraction temperature (between 125 °C and 175 °C), microwave power (between 500 W and 1000 W), extraction time (between 5 min and 15 min), extraction solvent (between 10% and 90% of EtOAc in MeOH), and solvent-to-sample ratio (between 25:1 mL and 50:1 mL of solvent per gram of the sample). On studying the effects of extraction variables, both solvent and liquid-to-solid ratio were found to exhibit the highest effects on ricinine recovery. A fast (15 min) microwave-assisted extraction method was developed (high temperatures can be applied because the stability of ricinine is proven in the literature), allowing for the recovery of ricinine from R. communis
leaves. The study revealed that R. communis
leaves had almost 1.5 mg g−1
(dried weight) of ricinine.
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