Spectrofluorimetric determination of melatonin in kernels of four different Pistacia varieties after ultrasound-assisted solid-liquid extraction

Spectrochim Acta A Mol Biomol Spectrosc. 2014 Nov 11;132:326-9. doi: 10.1016/j.saa.2014.05.010. Epub 2014 May 16.


Melatonin is normally consumed to regulate the body's biological cycle. However it also has therapeutic properties, such as anti-tumor, anti-aging and protects the immune system. There are some reports on the presence of melatonin in edible kernels such as walnuts, but the extraction of melatonin from pistachio kernels is reported here for the first time. For this, the methanolic extract of pistachio kernels was exposed to gas chromatography/mass spectrometry analysis which confirmed the presence of melatonin. A fluorescence-based method was applied for the determination of melatonin in different extracts. When excited at λ=275 nm, the fluorescence emission intensity of melatonin was measured at λ=366 nm. Ultrasound-assisted solid-liquid extraction was used for the extraction of melatonin from pistachio kernels prior to fluorimetric determination. To achieve the highest extraction recovery, the main parameters affecting the extraction efficiency such as extracting solvent type and volume, temperature, sonication time and pH were evaluated. Under the optimized conditions, a linear dependence of fluorescence intensity on melatonin concentration was observed in the range of 0.0040-0.160 μg mL(-1), with a detection limit of 0.0036 μg mL(-1). This method was applied successfully for measuring and comparing the melatonin content in the kernels of four different varieties of Pistacia including Ahmad Aghaei, Akbari, Kalle Qouchi and Fandoghi. In addition, the results obtained were compared with those obtained using GC/MS. A good agreement was observed indicating the reliability of the proposed method.

Keywords: Fluorescence; GC/MS; Melatonin; Pistachio kernel; Solid–liquid extraction; Ultrasound-assisted extraction.

MeSH terms

  • Fluorescence
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Liquid Phase Microextraction / methods*
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Melatonin / analysis*
  • Pistacia / chemistry*
  • Reference Standards
  • Solid Phase Extraction / methods*
  • Solvents / chemistry
  • Sonication
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence / methods*
  • Temperature
  • Time Factors
  • Ultrasonics*


  • Solvents
  • Melatonin