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Separation of polyphenols and arecoline from areca nut (Areca catechu L.) by solvent extraction, its antioxidant activity, and identification of polyphenols


Correspondence to: Rekha S Singhal, Food Engineering and Technology Department, Institute of Chemical Technology, Matunga, Mumbai 400019, India. E-mail:



Areca nut (Areca catechu L.) or betel nut, a commercial cash crop, is a rich source of polyphenols but also contains toxic alkaloids, mainly arecoline. Separation of these bioactive polyphenols from toxic constituents could propel the safe and beneficial use of betel nut; also it will help arecanut processing industries to produce arecoline-free products. With the aim to develop an effective method for maximum extraction of polyphenols with minimum arecoline, several factors such as nature of the solvent, pH (2–10), substrate concentration (6–14 %) and extraction time (30–150 min) under shaking conditions were evaluated. Qualitative analysis was done using spectrophotometry and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC).


Maximum extraction of polyphenols (407.47 mg GAE g−1), total tannin and its antioxidant activity with minimum arecoline (1.73 mg g−1 of sample) was achieved by using 80% acetone at pH 4 for 90 min with 10% w/v substrate under shaking conditions.


Solvent extraction under optimized parameters gave maximum polyphenols with minimum extraction of arecoline, and highest ratio of polyphenols to arecoline. HPLC and liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry results confirmed the presence of catechin and epicatechin in the extract, which suggests its potential as a source of bioactives. © 2013 Society of Chemical Industry