Molecular imprinted polymer for solid-phase extraction of flavonol aglycones from Moringa oleifera extracts


Correspondence: Dr. Luke Chimuka, P/Bag 3, WITS, Johannesburg, Gauteng 2050, South Africa


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Molecular imprinted polymer produced using quercetin as the imprinting compound was applied for the extraction of flavonol aglycones (quercetin and kaempferol) from Moringa oleifera methanolic extracts obtained using heated reflux extraction method. Identification and quantification of these flavonols in the Moringa extracts was achieved using high performance liquid chromatography with ultra violet detection. Breakthrough volume and retention capacity of molecular imprinted polymer SPE was investigated using a mixture of myricetin, quercetin and kaempferol. The calculated theoretical number of plates was found to be 14, 50 and 8 for myricetin, quercetin and kaempferol, respectively. Calculated adsorption capacities were 2.0, 3.4 and 3.7 μmol/g for myricetin, quercetin and kaempferol, respectively. No myricetin was observed in Moringa methanol extracts. Recoveries of quercetin and kaempferol from Moringa methanol extracts of leaves and flowers ranged from 77 to 85% and 75 to 86%, respectively, demonstrating the feasibility of using the developed molecularly imprinted SPE method for quantitative clean-up of both of these flavonoids. Using heated reflux extraction combined with molecularly imprinted SPE, quercetin concentrations of 975 ± 58 and 845 ± 32 mg/kg were determined in Moringa leaves and flowers, respectively. However, the concentrations of kaempferol found in leaves and flowers were 2100 ± 176 and 2802 ± 157 mg/kg, respectively.