Cryoconcentration of flavonoid extract for enhanced biophotovoltaics and pH sensitive thin films

Biotechnol Prog. 2018 Jan;34(1):206-217. doi: 10.1002/btpr.2557. Epub 2017 Oct 4.


Flavonoids are important value added products for dye sensitized solar cells biosensors, functional foods, medicinal supplements, nanomaterial synthesis, and other applications. Brassica oleracea contains high levels of anthocyanins in leaf sap vacuoles, and there are many viable extraction techniques that vary in terms of simplicity, environmental impact, cost, and extract photochemical/electrochemical properties. The efficiency of value added biotechnologies from flavonoid is a function of anthocyanin activity/concentration and molecule stability (i.e., ability to retain molecular resonance under a wide range of conditions). In this paper, we show that block cryoconcentration and partial thawing of anthocyanin from B. oleracea is a green, facile, and highly efficient technique that does not require any special equipment or protocols for producing enhanced value added products. Cryoconcentration increased anthocyanin activity and total phenol content approximately 10 times compared with common extraction techniques. Cryoconcentrated extract had enhanced electrochemical properties (higher oxidation potential), improved chroma, and higher UV absorbance than extract produced with other methods for a pH range of 2-12, with minimal effect on the diffusion coefficient of the extract. As a proof of concept for energy harvesting and sensor applications, dye sensitized solar cells and pH-sensitive thin films were prepared and tested. These devices were comparable with other recently published biotechnologies in terms of efficacy, but did not require expensive/environmentally detrimental extraction or concentration methods. This low cost, biorenewable, and simple method can be used for development of a variety of value added products. © 2017 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 34:206-217, 2018.

Keywords: anthocyanin; cryoconcentration; dye sensitized solar cell; pH sensitive thin film.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anthocyanins / chemistry*
  • Biosensing Techniques
  • Brassica / chemistry
  • Cryobiology / methods*
  • Flavonoids / chemistry*
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry*
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry
  • Solar Energy


  • Anthocyanins
  • Flavonoids
  • Plant Extracts