Emerging Technologies for the Extraction of Marine Phenolics: Opportunities and Challenges

Mar Drugs. 2020 Jul 27;18(8):389. doi: 10.3390/md18080389.


Natural phenolic compounds are important classes of plant, microorganism, and algal secondary metabolites. They have well-documented beneficial biological activities. The marine environment is less explored than other environments but have huge potential for the discovery of new unique compounds with potential applications in, e.g., food, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical industries. To survive in a very harsh and challenging environment, marine organisms like several seaweed (macroalgae) species produce and accumulate several secondary metabolites, including marine phenolics in the cells. Traditionally, these compounds were extracted from their sample matrix using organic solvents. This conventional extraction method had several drawbacks such as a long extraction time, low extraction yield, co-extraction of other compounds, and usage of a huge volume of one or more organic solvents, which consequently results in environmental pollution. To mitigate these drawbacks, newly emerging technologies, such as enzyme-assisted extraction (EAE), microwave-assisted extraction (MAE), ultrasound-assisted extraction (UAE), pressurized liquid extraction (PLE), and supercritical fluid extraction (SFE) have received huge interest from researchers around the world. Therefore, in this review, the most recent and emerging technologies are discussed for the extraction of marine phenolic compounds of interest for their antioxidant and other bioactivity in, e.g., cosmetic and food industry. Moreover, the opportunities and the bottleneck for upscaling of these technologies are also presented.

Keywords: emerging technologies; extraction; marine phenolics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aquatic Organisms / metabolism*
  • Chemical Fractionation
  • Chromatography, Supercritical Fluid
  • Diffusion of Innovation
  • Enzymes / chemistry
  • Microwaves
  • Phenols / isolation & purification*
  • Secondary Metabolism
  • Solvents / adverse effects
  • Solvents / chemistry*
  • Ultrasonic Waves


  • Enzymes
  • Phenols
  • Solvents