A dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) atmospheric cold plasma was evaluated as a tool to increase the extraction rate of total phenolic content (TPC) and antioxidant activity from green tea leaves. The effects of nitrogen DBD cold plasma on changes of color and surface morphology were investigated. Optimum conditions of cold plasma treatment (treatment time and generation power) were obtained by response surface methodology. After the nitrogen DBD cold plasma at 15 W of the generation power for 15 min, the TPC and antioxidant activity of green tea increased by 41.14% and 41.06%, respectively. The catechin also increased by 103.12%. The scanning electron microscopy results showed cell ablation and ruptures of the green tea leaf surface after nitrogen DBD cold plasma treatment. PRACTICAL APPLICATION: The developed DBD cold plasma source fed by nitrogen gas can be a suitable procedure for green and useful extraction of phenolic compounds from natural sources in the food industries.
Keywords: antioxidant; dielectric barrier discharge; non-thermal plasma; phenolics; plant extract.
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