Author(s): Cravotto G, Boffa L, Mantegna S, Perego P, Avogadro M,
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Abstract Ultrasound-assisted extraction (UAE) and microwave-assisted extraction (MAE) techniques have been employed as complementary techniques to extract oils from vegetable sources, viz, soybean germ and a cultivated marine microalga rich in docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Ultrasound (US) devices developed by ourselves, working at several frequencies (19, 25, 40 and 300 kHz), were used for US-based protocols, while a multimode microwave (MW) oven (operating with both open and closed vessels) was used for MAE. Combined treatments were also studied, such as simultaneous double sonication (at 19 and 25 kHz) and simultaneous US/MW irradiation, achieved by inserting a non-metallic horn in a MW oven. Extraction times and yields were compared with those resulting from conventional procedures. With soybean germ the best yield was obtained with a 'cavitating tube' prototype (19 kHz, 80 W), featuring a thin titanium cylinder instead of a conventional horn. Double sonication, carried out by inserting an immersion horn (25 kHz) in the same tube, improved the yield only slightly but halved the extraction time. Almost comparable yields were achieved by closed-vessel MAE and simultaneous US/MW irradiation. Compared with conventional methods, extraction times were reduced by up to 10-fold and yields increased by 50-500\%. In the case of marine microalgae, UAE worked best, as the disruption by US of the tough algal cell wall considerably improved the extraction yield from 4.8\% in soxhlet to 25.9\%. Our results indicate that US and MW, either alone or combined, can greatly improve the extraction of bioactive substances, achieving higher efficiency and shorter reaction times at low or moderate costs, with minimal added toxicity.
This article was published in Ultrason Sonochem
and referenced in Journal of Fundamentals of Renewable Energy and Applications