Pomegranate peel (PP) is one of the interesting agri-food by-products because of its abundant bioactive phytochemicals. However, the bioactivity of valuable compounds is affected due to the extraction method used. A pulsed ultrasound-assisted extraction (PUAE) was carried out to intensify the extraction efficacy with reduced power and time. Influence of several process variables viz. peel solids/ solvent ratio, sonication power, duty cycle, and extraction time was studied using empirical quadratic models followed by multicriterial numerical optimization with respect to face-centered composite design. Power-duty cycle combination was found to be most significant (p < 0.05) for process intensification. The optimal process conditions of 2.17 g/100 mL S/S ratio at 116 W power with 80% duty cycle for 6 min resulted into 0.48 g/g yield, 177.54 mg GAE/g total phenolics content, 35.71 mg QE/g total flavonoids, 160.54 mg GAE/g antioxidant capacity, 21.65 mg cyn-3-glc/100 g anthocyanin content with 54.92 browning index in dry pomegranate peel. Significant Pearson correlation analysis was established in all responses with potent phenols and flavonoid relation with highest coefficient (r) 0.931. All response models were significantly validated with regression coefficient (R2) above 0.965. Remarkable antioxidant bioactivities were recorded for the resultant peel extract. Hence, it is strongly recommended that PUAE could be successfully applied for the intensification of the extraction process of bioactive from any peel and or plant systems with minimal process time and power consumption with a green label.
Keywords: Antioxidant bioactivities; Bio-actives; Intensification; PUAE; Pearson correlation; Pomegranate peel.
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