Enzymes-Assisted Extraction of Plants for Sustainable and Functional Applications

Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Feb 21;23(4):2359. doi: 10.3390/ijms23042359.


The scientific community and industrial companies have discovered significant enzyme applications to plant material. This rise imparts to changing consumers' demands while searching for 'clean label' food products, boosting the immune system, uprising resistance to bacterial and fungal diseases, and climate change challenges. First, enzymes were used for enhancing production yield with mild and not hazardous applications. However, enzyme specificity, activity, plant origin and characteristics, ratio, and extraction conditions differ depending on the goal. As a result, researchers have gained interest in enzymes' ability to cleave specific bonds of macroelements and release bioactive compounds by enhancing value and creating novel derivatives in plant extracts. The extract is enriched with reducing sugars, phenolic content, and peptides by disrupting lignocellulose and releasing compounds from the cell wall and cytosolic. Nonetheless, depolymerizing carbohydrates and using specific enzymes form and release various saccharides lengths. The latest studies show that oligosaccharides released and formed by enzymes have a high potential to be slowly digestible starches (SDS) and possibly be labeled as prebiotics. Additionally, they excel in new technological, organoleptic, and physicochemical properties. Released novel derivatives and phenolic compounds have a significant role in human and animal health and gut-microbiota interactions, affecting many metabolic pathways. The latest studies have contributed to enzyme-modified extracts and products used for functional, fermented products development and sustainable processes: in particular, nanocellulose, nanocrystals, nanoparticles green synthesis with drug delivery, wound healing, and antimicrobial properties. Even so, enzymes' incorporation into processes has limitations and is regulated by national and international levels.

Keywords: enzyme-assisted extraction; fermentation; nanocellulose; nanofibers; oligosaccharides; phenolic compounds; plant material; prebiotic; sustainability.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Enzymes / metabolism*
  • Phytochemicals / isolation & purification*
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry*
  • Polyphenols
  • Polysaccharides
  • Prebiotics


  • Enzymes
  • Phytochemicals
  • Plant Extracts
  • Polyphenols
  • Polysaccharides
  • Prebiotics