A Glimpse into the Extraction Methods of Active Compounds from Plants

Crit Rev Anal Chem. 2020 Sep 20;1-30. doi: 10.1080/10408347.2020.1820851. Online ahead of print.


Naturally active compounds are usually contained inside plants and materials thereof. Thus, the extraction of the active compounds from plants needs appropriate extraction methods. The commonly employed extraction methods are mostly based on solid-liquid extraction. Frequently used conventional extraction methods such as maceration, heat-assisted extraction, Soxhlet extraction, and hydrodistillation are often criticized for large solvent consumption and long extraction times. Therefore, many advanced extraction methods incorporating various technologies such as ultrasound, microwaves, high pressure, high voltage, enzyme hydrolysis, innovative solvent systems, adsorption, and mechanical forces have been studied. These advanced extraction methods are often better than conventional methods in terms of higher yields, higher selectivity, lower solvent consumption, shorter processing time, better energy efficiency, and potential to avoid organic solvents. They are usually designed to be greener, more sustainable, and environment friendly. In this review, we have critically described recently developed extraction methods pertaining to obtaining active compounds from plants and materials thereof. Main factors that affect the extraction performances are tuned, and extraction methods are chosen in line with the properties of targeted active compounds or the objectives of extraction. The review also highlights the advancements in extraction procedures by using combinations of extraction methods to obtain high overall yields or high purity extracts.

Keywords: Active compounds; conventional extraction; extraction methods; plant materials; solid–liquid extraction.