• Box–Behnken design;
  • microwave assisted extraction;
  • response surface methodology;
  • Ficus racemosa leaves;
  • Lupeol



Triterpenoids are a group of important phytocomponents from Ficus racemosa (syn. Ficus glomerata Roxb.) that are known to possess diverse pharmacological activities and which have prompted the development of various extraction techniques and strategies for its better utilisation.


To develop an effective, rapid and ecofriendly microwave-assisted extraction (MAE) strategy to optimise the extraction of a potent bioactive triterpenoid compound, lupeol, from young leaves of Ficus racemosa using response surface methodology (RSM) for industrial scale-up.

Material and Method

Initially a Plackett–Burman design matrix was applied to identify the most significant extraction variables amongst microwave power, irradiation time, particle size, solvent:sample ratio loading, varying solvent strength and pre-leaching time on lupeol extraction. Among the six variables tested, microwave power, irradiation time and solvent–sample/loading ratio were found to have a significant effect (P < 0.05) on lupeol extraction and were fitted to a Box–Behnken-design-generated quadratic polynomial equation to predict optimal extraction conditions as well as to locate operability regions with maximum yield.


The optimal conditions were microwave power of 65.67% of 700 W, extraction time of 4.27 min and solvent–sample ratio loading of 21.33 mL/g. Confirmation trials under the optimal conditions gave an experimental yield (18.52 µg/g of dry leaves) close to the RSM predicted value of 18.71 µg/g.


Under the optimal conditions the mathematical model was found to be well fitted with the experimental data. The MAE was found to be a more rapid, convenient and appropriate extraction method, with a higher yield and lower solvent consumption when compared with conventional extraction techniques. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.