Comprehensive Evaluation of Deep Eutectic Solvents in Extraction of Bioactive Natural Products

Deep eutectic solvents (DESs) are emerging as green and sustainable solvents for efficient extraction of bioactive compounds or drugs. This work aimed to comprehensively evaluate the potential and effectiveness of DESs for extraction of different types of natural compounds from biomass. Five Chinese herbal medicines including Berberidis Radix, Epimedii Folium, Notoginseng Radix et Rhizoma, Rhei Rhizoma et Radix, and Salviae Miltiorrhizae Radix et Rhizoma were selected to assess the efficiency of DESs on extraction of alkaloids, flavonoids, saponins, anthraquinones, and phenolic acids, respectively. Totally 43 types of choline chloride-, betaine-, and l-proline-based DESs with different polarity, viscosity, composition, and solubilization abilities were tailored to test their extraction efficiency, and the operation conditions were statistically optimized using response surface methodology to produce the most efficient process. In this work, DES solvents were first introduced to extract alkaloids and anthraquinones. The results indicated that most prepared DESs proved to be efficient solvents for extraction of alkaloids, but lower extractability for anthraquinones. The extraction capacity of DES may be correlated with their physical–chemical properties, including H-bonding interactions, polarity, viscosity, and pH. This study demonstrated that DESs were suitable green extraction solvents for selectively and efficiently extracting bioactive compounds from biomaterials.