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Aqueous biphasic system based on cholinium ionic liquids: extraction of biologically active phenolic acids

Author(s): Branco, Sónia Isabel Pereira

Date: 2014

Persistent ID:

Origin: Repositório Institucional da UNL

Subject(s): Aqueous biphasic systems; Ionic liquids; Phenolic acids; Extraction; Biologically active natural compounds


Phenolic acids are aromatic secondary plant metabolites, widely spread throughout the plant kingdom. Due to their biological and pharmacological properties, they have been playing an important role in phytotherapy and consequently techniques for their separation and purification are in need. This thesis aims at exploring new sustainable separation processes based on ionic liquids (ILs) in the extraction of biologically active phenolic acids. For that purpose, three phenolic acids with similar chemical structures were selected: cinnamic acid, p-coumaric acid and caffeic acid. In the last years, it has been shown that ionic liquids-based aqueous biphasic systems (ABSs) are valid alternatives for the extraction, recovery and purification of biomolecules when compared to conventional ABS or extractions carried out with organic solvents. In particular, cholinium-based ILs represent a clear step towards a greener chemistry, while providing means for the implementation of efficient techniques for the separation and purification of biomolecules. In this work, ABSs were implemented using cholinium carboxylate ILs using either high charge density inorganic salt (K3PO4) or polyethylene glycol (PEG) to promote the phase separation of aqueous solutions containing three different phenolic acids. These systems allow for the evaluation of effect of chemical structure of the anion on the extraction efficiency. Only one imidazolium-based IL was used in order to establish the effect of the cation chemical structure. The selective extraction of one single acid was also researched. Overall, it was observed that phenolic acids display very complex behaviours in aqueous solutions, from dimerization to polymerization and also hetero-association are quite frequent phenomena, depending on the pH conditions. These phenomena greatly hinder the correct quantification of these acids in solution.

Document Type Master thesis
Language English
Advisor(s) Ferreira, Isabel
Contributor(s) Branco, Sónia Isabel Pereira
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