, 6:123,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 26 Oct 2012

Design of optimal solvent for extraction of bio–active ingredients from six varieties of Medicago sativa

Abstract

Background

Extensive research has been performed worldwide and important evidences were collected to show the immense potential of plants used in various traditional therapeutic systems. The aim of this work is to investigate the different extracting solvents in terms of the influence of their polarity on the extracting ability of bioactive molecules (phenolic compounds) from the M. sativa flowers.

Results

The total phenolic content of samples was determined using the Folin Ciocalteu (FC) procedure and their antioxidant activity was assayed through in vitro radical decomposing activity using the radical DPPH° assay (IUPAC name for DPPH is (phenyl)–(2,4,6–trinitrophenyl) iminoazanium). The results showed that water was better than methanol and acetic acid for extracting bioactive compounds, in particular for total phenolic compounds from the flowers of alfalfa. The average content of bioactive molecules in methanol extract was 263.5±1.02 mg GAE/100g of dry weight lyophilized extract. The total phenolic content of the tested plant extracts was highly correlated with the radical decomposing activity. However, all extracts were free–radical inhibitors, but the water extract was more potent than the acetic and the methanol ones. The order of inhibitor effectiveness (expressed by IC50) proved to be: water extract (0.924mg/mL) > acetic acid extract (0.154mg/mL) > methanol (0.079mg/mL). The profiles of each extract (fingerprint) were characterized by FT–MIR spectroscopy.

Conclusions

The present study compares the fingerprint of different extracts of the M. sativa flowers, collected from the wild flora of Romania. The total phenolic content of the tested plant extracts was highly correlated with the radical decomposing activity. The dependence of the extract composition on the solvent polarity (acetic acid vs. methanol vs. water) was revealed by UV–VIS spectrometry and Infrared fingerprint.