Lycopene, a non-polar antioxidant compound with important effects on human health and wide commercial applications, was extracted from tomato processing wastes using innovative hydrophobic eutectic mixtures (HEMs) replacing traditional organic solvents. HEMs were prepared using DL-menthol as hydrogen-bond acceptor (HBA) and lactic acid as hydrogen-bond donor (HBD), and the ultrasound-assisted extraction (UAE) was optimized using a Box–Behnken design to evaluate extraction conditions: extraction temperature (°C), molar ratio of eutectic mixture (moles HBA: mol HBD), solvent to sample ratio (volume to mass, mL/g), and extraction time (min), with lycopene extraction yield (µg/g d.w.) as the response variable. Optimization of parameters was performed using response surface methodology, and the optimized extraction conditions were determined to be 70 °C, 8:1 mol HBA/mol HBD, 120 mL/g solvent: sample, and 10 min. The experimental optimal yield was 1446.6 µg/g, in agreement with the predicted optimal yield, indicating the validity of the model. This new technique for lycopene extraction, using a HEM as extraction solvent in replacement of hazardous organic solvents, and tomato pomace as source material, represents a viable and more sustainable approach for obtaining a high value-added bioactive compound, and can contribute towards the development of greener extraction processes.
Green extraction Deep eutectic solvents Tomato pomace Response surface methodology Box–Behnken design
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The authors would like to thank the processing company who provided the material used in this study. The authors acknowledge the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES—Brazil), the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD—Canada), and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC—Canada) for financial support. The funding sources had no involvement in the design of the research study, data collection/analysis, writing of the report, or submission of the article for publication.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.
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