The effectiveness of a preparative integrated ultrafiltration/solid-phase extraction (UF/SPE) process for purification of oligomeric procyanidins (OPCs) from a crude grape seed extract (GSE) was studied for the first time. The separation of OPCs from polymeric procyanidins (PPCs) by UF was very efficient. The membrane showed an acceptable filtration flux of 6 to 3.5 L/h·m2 at 0.5 bar of transmembrane pressure and 95% recovery of its water flux after chemical cleaning. The process was scalable to a pilot scale. The separation of very polar and ionic species from OPCs by SPE (XAD7HP and XAD16 resins) was also very good, but both adsorbents lost their retention capacities quickly, due probably to irreversible retention of OPCs/PPCs. Even though the global purification of OPCs by the integrated UF/SPE process allowed the recovery of 24.2 g of highly purified OPCs (83% purity) from 14.4 L of crude grape seed extract, the use of these adsorbents for further purification of the OPCs was very limited.
Keywords: grape seed extract; oligomeric procyanidins; purification; solid-phase extraction; tangential-flow pressure-driven membrane ultrafiltration.