This study aimed to optimize the key parameters of extraction methods and to increase the recovery yields of intact xanthophylls (violaxanthin, zeaxanthin, astaxanthin) from microalgae (Chlorella luteoviridis). An effective, simple, and fast extraction protocol is described. It consists of a grinding pretreatment followed by a microwave-assisted extraction, using ethanol 90% as an environmentally preferable extraction solvent. Xanthopylls were quantified using high performance liquid chromatography. Irradiation time of 6 s only resulted in the extraction of violaxanthin (4.479 ± 0.009 mg/g), astaxanthin (4.154 ± 0.013 mg/g), and zeaxanthin (4.776 ± 0.120 mg/g). The described protocol seems to be the fastest extraction method of xantophylls compared to the literature and could be an advantage for industrial scale, while saving time and energy.
Keywords: Microwave-assisted extraction; ethanol; xanthophylls.