Natural deep eutectic solvents (NADES) are a new alternative to toxic organic solvents. Their constituents are primary metabolites, non-toxic, biocompatible and sustainable. In this study four selected NADES were applied for the extraction of two medicinal plants: Sideritis scardica, and Plantago major as an alternative to water-alcohol mixtures, and the antimicrobial and genotoxic potential of the extracts were studied. The extraction efficiency was evaluated by measuring the extracted total phenolics, and total flavonoids. Best extraction results for total phenolics for the studied plants were obtained with choline chloride-glucose 5:2 plus 30% water; but surprisingly these extracts were inactive against all tested microorganisms. Extracts with citric acid-1,2-propanediol 1:4 and choline chloride-glycerol 1:2 showed good activity against S. pyogenes, E. coli, S. aureus, and C. albicans. Low genotoxicity and cytotoxicity were observed for all four NADES and the extracts with antimicrobial activity. Our results confirm the potential of NADESs for extraction of bioactive constituents of medicinal plants and further suggest that NADES can improve the effects of bioactive extracts. Further studies are needed to clarify the influence of the studied NADES on the bioactivity of dissolved substances, and the possibility to use such extracts in the pharmaceutical and food industry.
Keywords: Antimicrobial activity; Genotoxicity; Green extraction; Natural deep eutectic solvents; Plantago major; Sideritis scardica.