This study aimed to optimise the experimental conditions of extraction of the phytochemical compounds and functional properties of Centaurea cyanus petals. The following parameters were determined: the chemical composition (LC-ESI-MS/MS), the effects of pH on the stability and antioxidant activity of anthocyanins, the inhibition of lipid peroxidation, antioxidant activity, anti-hemolytic activity, antimicrobial, anti-hypertensive, and cytotoxic/cytoprotective effect, and the measurements of intracellular reactive oxygen species. Results showed that the temperature and time influenced (p ≤ 0.05) the content of flavonoids, anthocyanins, and FRAP. Only the temperature influenced the total phenolic content, non-anthocyanin flavonoids, and antioxidant activity (DPPH). The statistical approach made it possible to obtain the optimised experimental extraction conditions to increase the level of bioactive compounds. Chlorogenic, caffeic, ferulic, and p-coumaric acids, isoquercitrin, and coumarin were identified as the major compounds in the optimised extract. The optimised extract presented anti-hemolytic and anti-hypertensive activity in vitro, in addition to showing stability and reversibility of anthocyanins and antioxidant activity with pH variation. The C. cyanus petals aqueous extract exhibited high IC50 and GI50 (>900 μg/mL) values for all cell lines, meaning low cytotoxicity. Based on the stress oxidative assay, the extract exhibited pro-oxidant action (10-100 μg/mL) but did not cause damage or cell death.
Keywords: Desirability function; Flavonoids; LC-ESI-MS/MS; Phenolic compounds; Protocyanins; Response surface methodology.
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