Green Solvents: Emerging Alternatives for Carotenoid Extraction from Fruit and Vegetable By-Products

Foods. 2023 Feb 17;12(4):863. doi: 10.3390/foods12040863.


Carotenoids have important implications for human health and the food industry due to their antioxidant and functional properties. Their extraction is a crucial step for being able to concentrate them and potentially include them in food products. Traditionally, the extraction of carotenoids is performed using organic solvents that have toxicological effects. Developing greener solvents and techniques for extracting high-value compounds is one of the principles of green chemistry and a challenge for the food industry. This review will analyze the use of green solvents, namely, vegetable oils, supercritical fluids, deep eutectic solvents, ionic liquids, and limonene, combined with nonconventional techniques (ultrasound-assisted extraction and microwave), for carotenoid extraction from fruit and vegetable by-products as upcoming alternatives to organic solvents. Recent developments in the isolation of carotenoids from green solvents and their inclusion in food products will also be discussed. The use of green solvents offers significant advantages in extracting carotenoids, both by decreasing the downstream process of solvent elimination, and the fact that the carotenoids can be included directly in food products without posing a risk to human health.

Keywords: carotenoids; fruit by-products; green extractions; green solvents; vegetable by-products.

Publication types

  • Review