Factorial design-assisted supercritical carbon-dioxide extraction of cytotoxic active principles from Carica papaya leaf juice

Sci Rep. 2019 Feb 8;9(1):1716. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-37171-9.


The aims of this study are to investigate the selective cytotoxic activity of supercritical carbon dioxide (scCO2)-extracted freeze-dried leaf juice (FDLJ) of Carica papaya on squamous cell carcinoma (SCC25) cells, and to delineate the best small scale extraction parameters allowing maximal extract activity. Using scCO2 as a solvent, six operating parameters were studied and the supercritical fluid extraction (SFE) process investigated using a factorial design 26-2. The processing values promoting cytotoxic activity towards SCC-25 are: high pressure (250 bar), low temperature (35 °C), extended processing time (180 minutes), as well as a large amount of starting material (5 g). The factorial experimental design successfully identified the key parameters controlling the SFE of molecules cytotoxic to SCC cells from C. papaya juice. This study also validated the extraction method and showed that the SFE yield was reproducible. The chromatographic and mass spectrometric profiles of the scCO2 extract acquired with high-resolution quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (LC-QToF-MS) were used to tentatively identify the bioactive compounds using comparative analysis. The principal compounds were likely to be mainly vitamins and phytosterols, some of which are documented to be cytotoxic to cancer cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / isolation & purification
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology*
  • Carbon Dioxide / chemistry*
  • Carica / chemistry*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Fruit and Vegetable Juices / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Phytosterols / isolation & purification
  • Phytosterols / pharmacology
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry
  • Vitamins / isolation & purification
  • Vitamins / pharmacology


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Phytosterols
  • Vitamins
  • Carbon Dioxide