Selective extraction of bioactive compounds from plants using recent extraction techniques: A review

J Chromatogr A. 2021 Jan 4:1635:461770. doi: 10.1016/j.chroma.2020.461770. Epub 2020 Dec 2.


Plant extraction has existed for a long time and is still of interest. Due to technological improvements, it is now possible to obtain extracts with higher yields. While global yield is a major parameter because it assesses the extraction performance, it can be of interest to focus on the extraction of particular compounds (specific metabolites) to enrich the sample and to avoid the extraction of unwanted ones, for instance the primary metabolites (carbohydrates, triacylglycerols). The objective then is to improve extraction selectivity is then considered. In solid-liquid extraction, which is often called maceration, the solvent has a major impact on selectivity. Its polarity has a direct influence on the solutes extracted, related to the chemical structure of the compounds, and modelling compound/solvent interactions by using various polarity or interaction scales is a great challenge to favor the choice of the appropriate extracting liquid. Technical advances have allowed the development of recent, and sometimes green, extraction techniques, such as Microwave-Assisted Extraction (MAE), Ultrasound-Assisted Extraction (UAE), Pressurized Liquid Extraction (PLE) and Supercritical Fluid Extraction (SFE). This review focuses on the specificity of these recent techniques and the influence of their physical parameters (i.e. pressure, intensity, etc.). In addition to the solvent selection, which is of prime interest, the physical parameters applied by the different techniques influence the extraction results in different ways. Besides, SFE is a versatile and green technique suitable to achieve selectivity for some compounds. Due to its properties, SC-CO2 allows tailoring conditions to improve the selectivity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chemistry Techniques, Analytical / instrumentation
  • Chemistry Techniques, Analytical / methods*
  • Chromatography, Supercritical Fluid
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / isolation & purification*
  • Plants / chemistry*
  • Solvents / chemistry


  • Plant Extracts
  • Solvents