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Belen E.

Microwave Theory
Extraction Principle
- Closed vessel
- Open vessel
Application of MAE
Factors affecting MAE
Microwave-assisted extraction is an efficient
method which involves deriving natural
compounds from raw plant
Microwave extraction allows organic
compounds to be extracted more rapidly,
with similar or better yield as compared to
conventional extraction method.
MAE of anthraquinone in pure alcohol at 600C
for 30 mins gave a recovery of 65% which
resulted from 3 days maceration in pure
ethanol at room temperature
The advantage that MAE has over Soxhlet are:
- Reduction in extraction time
- Improved yields
- Better accuracy
- Suitable for thermolabile substances
Microwaves are non-ionizing electromagnetic
waves of frequency between 300mHz and
positioned between the X-ray and infrared
rays in the electromagnetic spectrum.
Microwave serves two major purposes:
- Energy
The energy vector application is the direct
action of waves on materials that has the
ability to convert a part of the absorbed
electromagnetic energy to heat energy.

Microwaves are made up of two oscillating

perpendicular fields i.e.
- Electric field
-Magnetic field
In MAE heating occurs in a targeted and
selective manner with practically no heat
being lost to the environment as the heating
occurs in a closed system.

This unique heating mechanism significantly

reduces the extraction time (usually less than
30 min.) as compared to soxhlet
Dried plants contain a minute microscopic
trace of moisture which serves as target for
microwave heating.

High temperature and pressure is generated

inside the oven.

High temperature causes dehydration of

cellulose which accounts for its reduction of
mechanical strength.
The MAE process is as follows
-Microwave radiation
-Moisture get heated up
-Moisture evaporates
-Generation of tremendous pressure on cell
-Swelling of plant cell
-Rupture of the cell
-Leaching out of phyto-constituents
This phenomenon can be intensified if the plant
matrix is impregnated with solvents with higher
heating efficiency under microwave.
There are two types of commercially available
MAE System
-Closed Extraction Vessel
- Focused Microwave ovens
The former performs extraction under
controlled pressure and temperature.

In the latter, only a part of the extraction

vessel containing the sample is irradiated
with microwave
Both system are available as multi-mode and
A multi-mode system allows evenly radiation
of sample by random dispersion of
Single-mode (AKA focused system) allows
focused radiation on a restricted zone by
much stronger electric field.
Both multi-mode and focused system
comprised of the following four components:
- Microwave generator: magnetron which
generates microwave energy.
-wave guide: propagate microwave to
microwave cavity
- The applicator: where the sample is placed
- Circulator: allow microwave to move in
forward direction.
With closed vessel extraction, pressurized
microwave-assisted extraction is performed
under pressure (with or without regulation)
The pressure allows temperatures above
boiling points of the solvents to be reached
enhancing speed and efficiency
To avoid overpressure, power, temperature
and pressure can be controlled.
When dealing with thermolabile compounds,
high temperature causes degradation of
analytes. Therefore. The open system is
Decreased in extraction time
Loss of volatile substances is avoided
Less solvent is required because no
evaporation occurs
No hazardous fumes during acid microwave
since it is a closed vessel.
High pressure used pose safety risk
The usual constituent material of the vessel
does not allow high solution temperatures
Addition of reagents is impossible since it is a
single step procedure
Vessel must be cooled down before it can be
opened to prevent loss of volatile
Extraction is made at atmosphere pressure
The maximum possible temperature is
determined by boiling point of the solvent at
that pressure.
Losses of vapors are prevented by the
presence of a cooling system on the top of
the extraction vessel that causes
condensation of solvent vapors.
Heating is homogeneous and efficient
Increased safety
Addition of reagent is possible
Vessel made of various materials can be used
Excess solvent can be removed easily
Ability to process large samples
No requirement for cooling down or
Low cost of equipment
Suitable for thermolabile products
The ensuing method are less precise than in
closed-vessel system
The sample throughput is lower as open
system cannot process many samples
Require longer time to achieve same result as
for closed system.
Solvent - appropriate solvent is very
important for obtaining optimal extraction
Extraction time by increasing extraction
time, quantity of analytes is increased but
there is the risk of degradation.
Microwave power the power must be
correctly chosen to minimize the time needed
for extraction
However, increased power may cause solvent
lost by evaporation.
Maximum power used ranges between 600W
o 1000W for closed system and around 250W
for open system.
Matrix characteristics the plant particle size
and states in which it is presented for MAE
can affect the recoveries of compounds.

The particle size of the extracted materials

are generally in the range of 100 2mm.
Fine powders enhances extraction as they
provides a larger surface area.
Temperature temperature should be
sufficient to ensure good solubility of
compounds and a good penetration of
solvent in the plant matrix to enhance
extraction yield.
However, it should not be too high enough to
degrade the target compounds.
Certainly the instruments for MAE will evolve,
as well successful extraction of virtually all
compounds from all matrices.
As this analytical extraction method
becomes more widely used, many new
applications will appear.
Optimization of Microwave-Assisted Extraction
of Curcumin From Curcuma longa L.
(Turmeric) and Evaluation of Antioxidant
Activity in Multi-Test System.

By: Mustafa Bener, Mustafa Ozyurek, Kubilay Guclu and Resat


Records of Natural Products 10:5 (2016) 542-554

Received June 25,2015; Revised September 22, 2015; Accepted November
13, 2015
Thank you