Optimization of the Vacuum Microwave Assisted Extraction of the Natural Polyphenols and Flavonoids from the Raw Solid Waste of the Pomegranate Juice Producing Industry at Industrial Scale.Molecules. 2021 Feb 16; 26(4)M
Pomegranate pomace (PP) is the solid waste produced in bulk by the pomegranate juice industry which is rich in polyphenols and flavonoids that can replace the hazardous chemical antioxidants/antimicrobials currently used in the agro-food and cosmetics sectors. In the present work, the vacuum microwave assisted extraction (VMAE) of natural antioxidants from raw pomegranate pomace was investigated and successfully optimized at an industrial scale. For the optimization of PP VMAE a novel, highly accurate response surface methodology (RSM) based on a comprehensive multi-point historical design was employed. The optimization showed that the maximum recovery of PP total polyphenols as well as total PP flavonoids were obtained at microwave power = 4961.07 W, water to pomace ratio = 29.9, extraction time = 119.53 min and microwave power = 4147.76 W, water to pomace ratio = 19.32, extraction time = 63.32 min respectively. Moreover, the optimal VMAE conditions on economic grounds were determined to be: microwave power = 2048.62 W, water to pomace ratio = 23.11, extraction time = 15.04 min and microwave power = 4008.62 W, water to pomace ratio = 18.08, extraction time = 15.29 min for PP total polyphenols and PP total flavonoids respectively. The main conclusion of this study is that the VMAE extraction can be successfully used at industrial scale to produce, in economic manner, high added value natural extracts from PP pomace.