Examining the Performance of Two Extraction Solvent Systems on Phenolic Constituents from U.S. Southeastern Blackberries

Molecules. 2021 Jun 30;26(13):4001. doi: 10.3390/molecules26134001.


Two common extraction solvent systems, namely acidified aqueous methanol and acidified aqueous acetone, were used to extract blackberry phenolics, and the antioxidant properties of the recovered extracts were compared. The crude extracts were fractionated into low- and high-molecular-weight phenolics by Sephadex LH-20 column chromatography. The hydrophilic-oxygen radical absorbance capacity (H-ORACFL), ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP), and the cellular antioxidant activity (CAA) assays were employed as indices to assess antioxidant capacity of the extracts and their respective fractions. The methanolic solvent system displayed a greater efficiency at extracting anthocyanin and flavonol constituents from the blackberries, while the acetonic solvent system was better at extracting flavan-3-ols and tannins. Anthocyanins were the dominant phenolic class found in the blackberries with 138.7 ± 9.8 mg C3G eq./100 g f.w. when using methanol as the extractant and 114.6 ± 3.4 mg C3G eq./100 g f.w. when using acetone. In terms of overall antioxidant capacity of blackberry phenolics, the acetonic solvent system was superior. Though present only as a small percentage of the total phenolics in each crude extract, the flavan-3-ols (42.37 ± 2.44 and 51.44 ± 3.15 mg/100 g f.w. in MLF and ALF, respectively) and ellagitannins (5.15 ± 0.78 and 9.31 ± 0.63 mg/100 g f.w. in MHF and AHF, respectively) appear to account for the differences in the observed antioxidant activity between the two solvent systems.

Keywords: Caco-2 cells; anthocyanins; antioxidant activity; blackberries; ellagitannins; phenolics.

MeSH terms

  • Acetone / chemistry*
  • Anthocyanins* / chemistry
  • Anthocyanins* / isolation & purification
  • Antioxidants* / chemistry
  • Antioxidants* / isolation & purification
  • Methanol / chemistry*
  • Phenols / chemistry
  • Phenols / isolation & purification
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry*
  • Rubus / chemistry*
  • Solvents / chemistry
  • United States


  • Anthocyanins
  • Antioxidants
  • Phenols
  • Plant Extracts
  • Solvents
  • Acetone
  • Methanol