A green, simplified, and efficient experimental setup for a high-throughput screening of agri-food by-products – From polar to nonpolar metabolites in sugarcane solid residues

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2020-12-20

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From an environmental perspective, searching for useful compounds in agri-food by-products by employing inefficient and polluting analytical procedures is paradoxical. This work aimed to develop a green, simplified, and highly efficient experimental setup for extracting and tentatively identifying the broadest range of metabolites in sugarcane solid by-products collected directly within the industrial mills. Nine different extraction approaches were investigated side-by-side, including three reference methods. Based on the extraction and environmental performances assessed by two complementary metrics called Analytical-Eco Scale and the Analytical Greenness Calculator, it was possible to reach two highly efficient two liquid-phase extractions while avoiding harmful solvents and traditional time, energy, and solvent consuming sample preparation steps, such as solvent evaporation, metabolite concentration, re-suspension, and derivatization. The simultaneously produced hydroethanolic and n-heptane extracts were directly analyzed by ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography and gas chromatography, both coupled to mass spectrometry, respectively, leading to the annotation of a large dynamic range of compounds from information rich spectral data. Up to 111 metabolites were identified in a single matrix, from highly polar sucrose to nonpolar wax ester C53 in a single extraction. Orientin, apigenin-6-C-glucosylrhamnoside, 1-octacosanol, octacosanal, and other bioactive compounds were identified in these abundantly available by-products, which are currently just burned to produce energy. The best two methods developed here (Two-Liquid-Phase Ultrasound-Assisted Extraction with Probe and Two-Liquid-Phase Dynamic Maceration) appeared as a green, simplified, and highly efficient procedures to qualitatively profile metabolites in complex solid matrices.

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Journal of Chromatography A, v. 1634.

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