Publication: Aronia Berries
Aronia Berries: Extraction and characterization of valuable compounds
E.Zikou1, S.Santzouk1*, G.Santzouk1, M. Errico2, C. Pastore3 and L. di Bitonto3
1Santzouk Samir and Co. General Partnership, PANAX, Chrissostomou Smirnis 14, Agios Konstantinos, Aetoloacarnania, GR30100, Greece
2.University of Southern Denmark, Department of Chemical Engineering, Biotechnology and Environmental Technology, Campusvej 55, 5230 Odense M, Denmark
3 Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), Istituto Di Ricerca sulle Acque (IRSA), Viale de Blasio 5, 70132 Bari, Italy
*Corresponding author: E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel +30 2641045495, Fax: +30 26410 46707
In the last few years, the interest in valuable medicinal compounds naturally occurring in plants with beneficial effects on human health, is rapidly increasing. Aronia berries known as Chokeberry and especially Aronia melanocarpa (Black Chokeberry) are considered to be valuable for their medicinal properties which are encountered in the extracts of their fruit and leaves and have useful antioxidant, antimicrobial and antifungal properties. In particular, phenolic compounds such as anthocyanins, procyanidins and flavonols, are found in very high concentrations in aronia and many of its medicinal properties are attributed to them. In addition, positive effects have been recorded on cardiovascular disease, cholesterol and hypertension lowering and protecting against radioactivity to a large extent. Finally, it is worth noting that its pharmaceutical extacts show no undesirable or toxic side effects.
In this work the medicinal properties of aronia berries are presented; methods of valuable compounds extraction are shown and compared; extracts characterization and product quality control is demonstrated.
Aronia is a genus of deciduous shrubs, the chokeberries, in the family Rosaceae native to eastern North America and most commonly found in wet woods and swamps, as ornamental deciduous shrubs. There are two species that can be easily distinguished based on their color, aronia arbutifolia (red) and aronia melanocarpa (black). The third one aronia prunifolia (purple) is a hybrid of the other two. Also, a fourth form that has long been cultivated is now considered to be an intergeneric hybrid, Sorbaronia mitschurinii (green).
Aronia melanocarpa has been used in order to produce a variety of pharmaceutical products. The chemical composition of aronia is highly variable and depends on many factors, especially on genotype, degree of ripeness, climate, date of harvesting and on the kind of fertilisers used.
Materials and methods
Aronia melanocarpa fruits were obtained from Greece and Denmark. They were grown on the most suitable soil; only natural fertilization was employed; throughout their production synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides, fungicides or herbicides were not used. The plant harvest was based on a strict protocol and collection rules. The harvest takes place late in the morning to avoid moisture during the late summer months (August-mid September). Only the completely dry fruits of the plant are collected and also have to be very clean. After harvesting meticulous cleaning of all kinds of impurities (organic or inorganic) was done. Growth of harmful enzymes and fungi should be ruled out. Possibility of growth increases when the flowers are packaged in liquid form. The transport length of the plant-flower was as short as possible and it never exceeded 48 hours;the flowers were transported in well-ventilated packages (perforated bags, baskets of reeds, boxes full of holes e.t.c.). The fruits were split in two parts. The first one was first subjected to segmentation into alcohol vapor and then to liquid extraction. The second part was dried. A sample from this part, was used to determine the dry residue and the moisture content of the plant; this was necessary in order to calculate the degree of alcohol for the process. Finally, the second part was dryied at 50°C for 24hr.
Percolation was the selected method of extraction. It was used for extraction of finely powdered solid-streams, slightly swollen upon wetting; then the solids were treated with a hydroalcoholic medium for the complete depletion of the valuable drug compounds. The procedure which was followed included preparation of the drip, humidification with water-alcoholic solvent (only pure alcohol and deionized water were used as solvents) to inflate the solid, stacking the drip into the percolator carefully and adding quantity of the solvent to its saturation, maceration for at least 48 hr, adjustment of percolation and receipt of certain volume of extract within a specified time, Safekeeping and repeat for new quantity in which condensation is made, mixing the two extracts, calm for 24 hr and filtrate. Quality controls were made during the procedure. In the end, the final quality control of the extract was conducted. It included determination of alcoholic degree and degree of acidity (pH) of the crude, fiber content, coefficient of expansion, bitterness limit and immediate anthocyanin identification which was used to confirm that the emloyed plant was aronia.
The treatment of aronia berries employed dried fruits to form powder and liquid extracts. They lead to production of pharmaceutical products such as capsules, tablets, drops, powder and elixirs. The most important feature of this production is that all materials and products are non-toxic, natural and friendly to the environment.
Keywords: aronia melanocarpa, extraction, phenolic compounds, anthocyanins
Acknowledgement: This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 778168