Blueberries are sweet, juicy fruits that we’re all familiar with. Perfect for pancakes, pies, jams, and many other beloved recipes, this superfood also contains many healthy antioxidants that help decrease inflammation in the body and lower your risk for certain diseases. But have you ever thought about why blueberries are, well, blue? Turns out that the vibrant blue coloration that gives these berries their charm is also a hidden superpower. Anthocyanin, the pigment that colors dark fruits, is heralded for its medicinal purposes. However, to be used on a pharmaceutical level, this organic compound must be extracted. So, what is blueberry anthocyanin extraction?
Anthocyanin Extraction Process
The process for extracting anthocyanin is fairly simple, and can be explained by the following steps:
- Blueberries are procured, usually in frozen or dried form.
- Thawed or rehydrated berries are blended with a solvent.
- This smooth liquid is centrifuged, to separate the solid particles from liquid.
- This process is repeated several times, until the liquid portion (known as the supernatant) has been centrifuged at least three times.
- The supernatant is then evaporated using a technique known as vacuum filtration, which allows the anthocyanin to be isolated in powder form.
- This powder is then redissolved to be further purified based on the intended purpose.
The solvent used for this process can be a simple solvent such as ethanol or methanol, although these can sometimes have toxic byproducts, so sometimes acidified water (water with a small concentration of hydrochloric or acetic acid) is used instead.
Uses of Anthocyanin
Anthocyanin is a natural pigment contained in many dark colored fruits and vegetables, but is especially prevalent in blueberries, elderberries, blackberries, cherries and other dark red or purple fruits. Traditionally, it has been used as a natural dye and food colorant, but there are also benefits to ingesting anthocyanin, including…
- Reduced diabetes risk
- Reduced cancer risk
- Reduced risk of CVD (cardiovascular disease)
- Improved eye health
Most of these pharmaceutical applications are a result of the antioxidant qualities of anthocyanin and other flavonoids.
Interested in Anthocyanin Extraction?
Extraction Grade Solvents is happy to help you find the best solvents for all your extraction needs. The molecules contained in fruits can be used in pharmaceuticals to promote health, and here at EGS we look to find the best ways of extracting them for easier consumption. For more information about other extraction methods, please get in touch with our chemical experts!