Enzyme-Assisted Extraction for the Recovery of Food-Grade Chlorophyll-Based Green Colorant

Foods. 2023 Sep 15;12(18):3440. doi: 10.3390/foods12183440.


The aim of the study was to develop a biotechnological approach for the green recovery of chlorophyll from spinach, to be used as a natural food colorant. The plant matrix was characterized in terms of cell wall polysaccharide composition, and a tailored enzymatic mix based on cellulase (40%) xylanase (41%) and polygalacturonase (19%) was formulated. The process variables (temperature (°C), time (h), enzyme mix dose (U/g), zinc concentration (ppm), and buffer/substrate ratio (B/S)) and their interactions were studied by response surface methodology. The overlay plot made it possible to identify the process conditions (T: 25 °C, Zn: 150 ppm e B/S: 17.5, t: <2 h and enzyme mix dose between 12 and 45 U/g) to maximize the amount of chlorophyll, and concurrently, the quality of the green color of the extract. Finally, the novel colorant was applied in the production of a real food.

Keywords: circular economy; natural pigment recovery; response surface methodology; solvent-free extraction; zinc.

Grants and funding

This research was funded by Unicoop Tirreno S.C. (Viterbo, Lazio region, Italy).