ISSN print edition: 0366-6352
ISSN electronic edition: 1336-9075
Registr. No.: MK SR 9/7

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Effect of drying methods on the content of natural pigments and antioxidant capacity in extracts from medicinal plants: a spectroscopic study

Jana Branisa, Klaudia Jomova, Maria Porubska, Vojtech Kollar, Miriama Simunkova, and Marian Valko

Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Constantine the Philosopher University, Nitra, Slovakia



Abstract: Medicinal plants are a significant source of biological active and health protective compounds. Post-harvest treatments can affect, in different ways, the content and biological activity of such compounds. One of the most common post-harvesting methods is drying. In this study, we investigated the effect of drying method on the content of natural pigments (chlorophylls, carotenoids and anthocyanins) and on the antioxidant capacity of two traditionally used herbs, the Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) and the Urtica dioica (stinging nettle) both of them landraces collected from plants grown in Nitra region, West of Slovakia. The freeze-dried samples of both herbs exhibited the highest content of chlorophyll a (7.55 ± 0.13 mg/g dry mass for lemon balm and 9.41 ± 0.17 mg/g dry mass for stinging nettle), chlorophyll b (3.12 ± 0.28 mg/g dry mass for lemon balm and 3.34 ± 0.24 mg/g dry mass for stinging nettle) and carotenoids (2.11 ± 0.24 mg/g dry mass for lemon balm and 2.62 ± 0.06 mg/g dry mass for stinging nettle). The content of chlorophylls and carotenoids correlated with the DPPH antioxidant (radical scavenging) capacity. Higher antioxidant capacity of the lemon balm extracts compared to nettle samples was attributed to the higher content of polyphenol compounds anthocyanins. Despite the higher cost, the freeze drying (lyophilisation) was recommended as the most suitable drying method, mainly for reasons of preserving maximum pigment content and antioxidant capacity.

Keywords: Medicinal plants; Drying; Extraction; Anthocyanins; DPPH test

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.1007/s11696-017-0193-9


Chemical Papers 71 (10) 1993–2002 (2017)

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