L., also known as eggplant, is a widely consumed vegetable and it is well-known for its beneficial antioxidant properties, due to phenolic compounds. In this work, the influence of different cooking procedures on the content of chlorogenic acid was evaluated on eggplant samples of different geographic origin by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). An easy and quick extraction procedure with 50% methanol as the extraction solvent was optimized for the first time by means of a design-of-experiment and applied to heat treated samples of eggplant. The antioxidant capacity of eggplant extracts was also evaluated by using the ABTS assay and it was correlated with the data obtained by the HPLC method. The content of chlorogenic acid was different in each heat-treated eggplant sample and it depended on the temperature applied during the cooking procedure. In particular, an increase of chlorogenic acid content with rising temperature was observed. Conversely, a very high temperature (250 °C) caused a decrease of chlorogenic acid amount. The influence of storage on the content of chlorogenic acid was also monitored. While the level of chlorogenic acid in fresh samples decreased during four weeks of storage, an increase in its content in heat treated eggplant was observed within the same period. Multivariate data analysis was used to classify eggplant samples into different groups, according to the country of origin and heat treatment procedure. This study provides new insights to preserve the antioxidant properties of eggplant phenolics during different thermal and storage treatments in order to highlight their health promoting effects.
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