An ultrasound-assisted method was used for the extraction of phenolics from defatted black cumin seeds (Nigella sativa L.), and the effects of several extraction factors on the total phenolic content and DPPH radical scavenging activity were investigated. To improve the extraction efficiency of phenolics from black cumin seed by ultrasonic-assisted extraction, the optimal extraction conditions were determined as follows: ethanol concentration of 59.1%, extraction temperature of 44.6 °C and extraction time of 32.5 min. Under these conditions, the total phenolic content and DPPH radical scavenging activity increased by about 70% and 38%, respectively, compared with conventional extraction. Furthermore, a complementary quantitative analysis of individual phenolic compounds was carried out using the HPLC-UV technique. The phenolic composition revealed high amounts of epicatechin (1.88-2.37 mg/g) and rutin (0.96-1.21 mg/g) in the black cumin seed extracts. Ultrasonic-assisted extraction can be a useful extraction method for the recovery of polyphenols from defatted black cumin seeds.
Keywords: antioxidant; black cumin; extraction techniques; optimization; phenolic compounds; ultrasonic.