• Multi-criteria optimization;
  • Pericarpium Citri Reticulatae;
  • Quantitative composition-activity relationship;
  • Response surface methodology;
  • Ultrasonic-assisted extraction

An activity-based approach to optimize the ultrasonic-assisted extraction of antioxidants from Pericarpium Citri Reticulatae (Chenpi in Chinese) was developed. Response surface optimization based on a quantitative composition-activity relationship model showed the relationships among product chemical composition, antioxidant activity of extract, and parameters of extraction process. Three parameters of ultrasonic-assisted extraction, including the ethanol/water ratio, Chenpi amount, and alkaline amount, were investigated to give optimum extraction conditions for antioxidants of Chenpi: ethanol/water 70:30 v/v, Chenpi amount of 10 g, and alkaline amount of 28 mg. The experimental antioxidant yield under the optimum conditions was found to be 196.5 mg/g Chenpi, and the antioxidant activity was 2023.8 μmol Trolox equivalents/g of the Chenpi powder. The results agreed well with the second-order polynomial regression model. This presented approach promised great application potentials in both food and pharmaceutical industries.