Effective and Selective Extraction of Quercetin from Onion ( Allium cepa L.) Skin Waste Using Water Dilutions of Acid-Based Deep Eutectic Solvents

Materials (Basel). 2021 Oct 28;14(21):6465. doi: 10.3390/ma14216465.


Deep Eutectic Solvents (DESs) are experiencing growing interest as substitutes of polluting organic solvents for their low or absent toxicity and volatility. Moreover, they can be formed with natural bioavailable and biodegradable molecules; they are synthesized in absence of hazardous solvents. DESs are, inter alia, successfully used for the extraction/preconcentration of biofunctional molecules from complex vegetal matrices. Onion skin is a highly abundant waste material which represents a reservoir of molecules endowed with valuable biological properties such as quercetin and its glycosylated forms. An efficient extraction of these molecules from dry onion skin from "Dorata di Parma" cultivar was obtained with water dilution of acid-based DESs. Glycolic acid (with betaine 2/1 molar ratio and L-Proline 3/1 molar ratio as counterparts) and of p-toluensulphonic acid (with benzyltrimethylammonium methanesulfonate 1/1 molar ratio)-based DESs exhibited more than 3-fold higher extraction efficiency than methanol (14.79 µg/mL, 18.56 µg/mL, 14.83 µg/mL vs. 5.84 µg/mL, respectively). The extracted quercetin was also recovered efficaciously (81% of recovery) from the original extraction mixture. The proposed extraction protocol revealed to be green, efficacious and selective for the extraction of quercetin from onion skin and it could be useful for the development of other extraction procedures from other biological matrixes.

Keywords: DESs water dilutions; Deep Eutectic Solvents; RP-HPLC-UV; UHPLC-MS/MS; extraction; preconcentration; quercetin; recovery.