New Method to Extract Blueberry Pigments Using Compressed Fluid Technology

Greg Howard
22nd May, 2024

New Method to Extract Blueberry Pigments Using Compressed Fluid Technology

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Researchers at iBET developed a new method to isolate portisins, natural pigments, from blueberry surplus anthocyanins
  • The new method uses a two-step process with carbon dioxide and ethanol, optimizing pressure, temperature, and ethanol content
  • This method increases portisins content by 1.5 times and is more sustainable, reducing solvent use compared to traditional methods
Blueberries have long been recognized for their health benefits, primarily due to their high content of flavonoids and antioxidants[2]. Recent research has further explored the potential of blueberry compounds in developing functional foods that could aid in managing conditions such as type 2 diabetes[3]. Building on this foundation, a new study conducted by iBET[1] has developed a novel separation process to isolate portisins, a type of natural pigment, from blueberry surplus anthocyanins. This research aims to create a scalable and more sustainable method for natural colorant production, with broad industrial applications. The study by iBET focuses on a dynamic compressed fluid-based separation process that combines carbon dioxide and ethanol. The researchers investigated how varying the process parameters—pressure (100-500 bar), temperature (40-60 °C), and ethanol content (20-50 wt%)—affects the extraction yield, portisins yield, and portisins content in the extract. The process was divided into two steps: the first step at 100 bar, 60 °C, and 20 wt% ethanol to remove low polarity compounds; and the second step at 500 bar, 40 °C, and 100 wt% ethanol to recover portisins. This method resulted in a 1.5-fold increase in portisins content. This two-step separation process was compared to centrifugal partitional chromatography and conventional reverse phase liquid chromatography, which are traditional methods used for such separations. While the new method reduced the total solvent used, it did come with a decrease in throughput and efficiency. However, the choice of the best separation technology depends on the specific application, as each technique results in different portisins purities. The significance of this study lies in its contribution to a more sustainable process for producing natural colorants, particularly blue pigments, which have numerous industrial applications. This approach aligns with the growing trend of waste valorization, where biological methods are used to add value to agricultural residues[4]. By utilizing blueberry crop residues (BCR), this process not only offers economic viability but also contributes to environmental management by reducing waste. Previous studies have demonstrated the potential health benefits of blueberry compounds, such as α-glucosidase inhibitory activity, which is useful for managing type 2 diabetes[3]. The current study builds on these findings by developing a method to isolate portisins, which could be used as natural colorants in functional foods. This not only enhances the value of blueberry by-products but also aligns with the increasing consumer demand for natural and sustainable ingredients. In summary, the research conducted by iBET offers a promising approach to isolating valuable compounds from blueberry surplus anthocyanins using a dynamic compressed fluid-based separation process. By optimizing process parameters and comparing different separation technologies, this study provides a scalable and more sustainable method for producing natural colorants, with potential applications in various industries. This work not only advances the field of natural product extraction but also contributes to the broader goals of sustainable development and waste valorization.



Main Study

1) Compressed fluid-based technology for downstream isolation of bluish anthocyanin-derived pigments obtained from blueberry surplus.

Published 21st May, 2024

Related Studies

2) Health promoting properties of blueberries: a review.

3) Counter-Current Fractionation-Assisted Bioassay-Guided Separation of Active Compound from Blueberry and the Interaction between the Active Compound and α-Glucosidase.

4) Sustainable blueberry waste recycling towards biorefinery strategy and circular bioeconomy: A review.

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