Subcritical water extraction and beta-glucosidase-catalyzed hydrolysis of quercetin glycosides in onion waste

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Onion waste is a renewable raw material, rich in different molecular species of the antioxidant quercetin. To utilize this resource, an environmentally sustainable procedure has been developed, using pressurized hot water to extract the quercetin species, followed by biocatalytic conversion of the quercetin glycosides to quercetin and carbohydrates. Two different recombinantly expressed thermostable beta-glucosidases, Thermotoga neapolitana beta-glucosidase A and B, were utilized as catalysts. These enzymes maintain activity at temperatures around 90 degrees C, and are therefore ideal to use in combination with hot water extraction. Our results, based on experimental design, showed that they converted quercetin glycosides to active quercetin in less than 10 min reaction time in water at 90 degrees C, pH 5.0. Experimental design showed that the optimal extraction conditions included three 5 min extraction cycles with water at 120 degrees C and 50 bars, giving a total extraction time of 15 min. Several different types of quercetin and isorhamnetin glycosides as well as kaempferol were detected in onion waste using LC-MS/MS analysis. After converting the different glycosidic compounds to their respective aglycones, the quercetin content was 10 to 50 mg g(-1) dry weight of onion waste (RSD 8%). In summary, our research demonstrates that subcritical water extraction followed by beta-glucosidase-catalyzed hydrolysis is a rapid method to determine the content of quercetin and isorhamnetin in onion samples, and is environmentally sustainable as it only uses water as solvent and enzymes as catalysts.


  • Charlotta Turner
  • Pernilla Turner
  • Gunilla Jacobson
  • Knut Almgren
  • Monica Waldeback
  • Per Sjoberg
  • Eva Nordberg Karlsson
  • Karin Markides
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Industrial Biotechnology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)949-959
JournalGreen Chemistry
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Publication categoryResearch