• hydrodistillation;
  • Satureja montana;
  • soxhlet extraction;
  • supercritical fluid extraction;
  • thymoquinone

ABSTRACT:  The antioxidant activities of the volatile and the nonvolatile fractions from Satureja montana obtained by supercritical fluid extraction (SFE) and by conventional techniques, hydrodistillation (HD) and soxhlet extraction (SE), were compared. A good agreement between DPPH and rancimat methods was obtained showing that the extracts were able to scavenge free radicals and to inhibit lipid oxidation. The volatile oil (obtained by SFE at 90 bar/40 °C) was the most effective extract, presenting the lowest EC50 (0.06 g/L) and the highest protector factor (PF = 2.03). These results demonstrated the advantages of SFE over conventional techniques by avoiding thermodegradation and hydrolysis reactions. Furthermore, volatile oil is 15 times richer in thymoquinone than the essential oil (HD). This compound is of great importance due to its antioxidant, neuroprotective, and anti-cancer activities. The combination of carvacrol + thymol + thymoquinone in volatile oil may be responsible for the increase in the antioxidant activity when compared to HD, which demonstrates that, in this case, SFE improves value to the final product.