We investigated the effective extraction of monogalactosyldiacylglycerol (MGDG) from dried spinach (Spinacia oleracea) using supercritical fluid carbon dioxide (SC-CO(2)) with a modifier/entrainer. The yield of MGDG in the SC-CO(2) extract was not influenced by increasing temperature at a constant pressure, although the total extract yield was decreased. The total extract yield and MGDG yield in the extract from commercially purchased spinach (unknown subspecies), were greatly influenced by lower pressure. In a modifier (i.e., ethanol) concentration range of 2.5-20%, both the extract and MGDG yield increased as the ethanol concentration rose. The highest total extract yield (69.5 mg/g of spinach) and a good MGDG yield (16.3 mg/g of spinach) were obtained at 80 degrees C, 25 MPa, and 20% ethanol. The highest MGDG concentration (76.0% in the extract) was obtained at 80 degrees C, 25 MPa, and 2.5% ethanol, although the total extract yield under these conditions was low (5.2 mg/g of spinach). The optimal conditions for the extraction of MGDG were 80 degrees C, 20 MPa, and 10% ethanol. Of the 11 subspecies of spinach tested under these conditions, "Ujyou" had the highest concentration of MGDG. The total extract yield and MGDG concentration of Ujyou were 20.4 mg of the extract/g of spinach and 70.5%, respectively. The concentration of MGDG was higher in the SC-CO(2) extract than in the extract obtained using solvents such as methanol and n-hexane. The extract of Ujyou, which was the optimal subspecies for the extraction of MGDG, inhibited the activity of calf DNA polymerase alpha with IC(50) values of 145 microg/mL but was not effective against DNA polymerase beta.