Introduction Plant extracts containing high levels of antioxidants are desirable due to their reported health benefits. Most techniques capable of determining the antioxidant activity of plant extracts are unsuitable for rapid at-line analysis as they require extensive sample preparation and/or long analysis times. Therefore, analytical techniques capable of real-time or pseudo real-time at-line monitoring of plant extractions, and determination of extraction endpoints, would be useful to manufacturers of antioxidant-rich plant extracts. Objectives To develop a reliable method for the rapid at-line extraction monitoring of antioxidants in plant extracts. Materials and Methods Calendula officinalis extracts were prepared from dried flowers and analysed for antioxidant activity using sequential injection analysis (SIA) with chemiluminescence (CL) detection. The intensity of CL emission from the reaction of acidic potassium permanganate with antioxidants within the extract was used as the analytical signal. The SIA-CL method was applied to monitor the extraction of C. officinalis over the course of a batch extraction to determine the extraction endpoint. Results were compared with those from ultra high performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC). Results Pseudo real-time, at-line monitoring showed the level of antioxidants in a batch extract of Calendula officinalis plateaued after 100 min of extraction. These results correlated well with those of an offline UHPLC study. Conclusion SIA-CL was found to be a suitable method for pseudo real-time monitoring of plant extractions and determination of extraction endpoints with respect to antioxidant concentrations. The method was applied at-line in the manufacturing industry.
- extraction monitoring
- Plant extract
- process analysis
- sequential injection analysis