Supercritical Fluid Extraction Turmeric

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Application of Supercritical Fluid Extraction and Chromatography to the Analysis of Turmeric M. Marsin Sanagi* and Umi K. Ahmad Department of Chemistry, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 80990 Johor Bahru, Malaysia Roger M. Smith Department of Chemistry, Loughborough University of Technology, Loughborough, LE11 3TU, United Kingdom Abstract Supercritical fluid extraction (SFE) and supercritical fluid chromatography (SFC) have been applied to the analysis of turmeric, the rhizomes of the plant Curcuma longa L. Using modified carbon dioxide as the extractant, SFE resulted in the removal of turmerones and other volatile compounds from the sample. Methanol-modified carbon dioxide enabled the extraction of the curcuminoids, and under optimized conditions gave more than 90% recovery of curcumin, the major component. This technique allowed easy separation of the solvent from the extracts. On-line coupling of SFE with SFC using pressure reduction to focus the sample onto the top of the column was carried out for the analysis of turmeric. Fractionation of turmerones and curcuminoids was possible in a single run, and the separation of curcuminoids by SFC was comparable to that done by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). This method can potentially be used for the analysis of compounds with highly volatile or aromatic components that are difficult to extract and/or trap. Introduction Turmeric is the dried, ground rhizomes of Cur­ cuma longa L., a species of the Zingiberaceae family, a plant native to Southern Asia. It is valued for its yellow coloring components, and is a widely used spice and a common additive in foods and beverages (1,2). It is also widely used as an ingre­ dient in traditional medications and cosmetics (3,4). Turmeric and its oleoresin are commercial products produced in large quantities of about 160,000 tons per year (1,5). The chemistry and the quality of turmeric has been reviewed previously (1). It exhibits poor to moderate stability when exposed to light and oxi­ dation agents, or to changes in pH, but has good tinctorial strength. The main coloring materials in turmeric and its oleoresin are curcumin [l,7-bis(4- * Author to whom correspondence should be addressed. hydroxy-3-methoxyphenyl)-l,6-heptadiene-3,5-dione] (I) and two related minor curcuminoids, demethoxycurcumin (II) and bisdemethoxycurcumin (III). Curcumin is an orange-yellow, crys­ talline powder that is insoluble in water and ether but soluble in ethanol and glacial acetic acid. It can be obtained with a 0.9-6.2% yield. Turmeric also yields about 5% of an orange-yellow, volatile oil composed mainly of the sesquiterpenes turmerone and ar- turmerone (6). Extraction ofturmeric with organic solvents, such as methanol (7), ethanol (8,9), or acetone, gives turmeric oleoresin, which is the combination of flavor and color principles. Extraction by Soxhlet and countercurrent cold percolation in columns have also been reported (1). Supercritical fluid extraction (SFE) uses a supercritical fluid as the extractant (10,11). The density, and hence the solvating power, of the supercritical fluid approaches that of a liquid, which makes it a favorable extractant; moreover, the diffusion coefficients of 20 Reproduction (photocopying) of editorial content of this journal is prohibited without publisher's permission. Journal of Chromatographic Science, Vol. 3 1 , January 1993

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