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Phytochem Anal. 2005 Jan-Feb;16(1):7-16.

Batch solvent extraction of flavanolignans from milk thistle (Silybum marianum L. Gaertner).

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Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701, USA.


Seeds of milk thistle (Silybum marianum L. Gaertner) contain silymarins and ca. 25% (w/w) of oil. A pre-treatment step involving refluxing with petroleum ether is usually performed before extraction of the silymarins using organic solvents. This paper compares the extraction of whole and defatted milk thistle seeds in various solvents as a function of temperature. The extraction of whole seeds of milk thistle with water at 50, 70 and 85 degrees C was also examined: the yield of silymarin increased with increasing water temperature. In most cases, ethanol at 60 degrees C recovered the largest quantities of silymarins. However, boiling water proved to be an efficient extraction solvent for the more polar silymarins such as taxifolin and silychristin, even when using whole seeds. Extractions of defatted seed meal with boiling ethanol returned maximum yields of 0.62, 3.89, 4.04, and 6.86 mg/g defatted seed of taxifolin, silychristin, silybinin A and silybinin B, respectively. When extracting defatted seed meal with ethanol, yields of taxifolin, silybinin A and silybinin B were, respectively, 6.8-, 0.95-, 1.7- and 1.6-fold higher than when extracting whole seeds. When extracting with boiling water, the yields of silychristin, silybinin A, and silybinin B were 380, 47 and 50% higher for whole seeds compared with defatted seeds.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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