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Study finds bio-based Cyrene a zesty flavonoids extraction solvent

New research published in the ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering journal used renewable solvent "Cyrene" –  produced by Australia-headed biotechnology company Circa Group from waste biomass – to extract two key phytonutrients, hesperidin, and rutin. The study concludes that the “extraction methodology used is environmentally friendly and offers future potential of isolation of other flavonoids.”

New research published in the ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering journal used renewable solvent “Cyrene” –  produced by Australia-headed biotechnology company Circa Group from waste biomass – to extract two key phytonutrients, hesperidin, and rutin. The study concludes that the “extraction methodology used is environmentally friendly and offers future potential of isolation of other flavonoids” (image courtesy Circa Group).

Hesperidin is a sought after natural flavonoid, which is also being looked at to help tackle the coronavirus (COVID-19), as it binds to the virus’ key proteins and counteracts cell-damaging effects triggered by infection and inflammation.

Hesperidin and rutin are natural flavonoids, traditionally extracted from citrus fruits and tea leaves respectively, by using large amounts of ethanol or methanol solvents. The authors of the study “Sustainable Single-Stage Solid–Liquid Extraction of Hesperidin and Rutin from Agro-Products Using Cyrenewanted to take a more sustainable extraction approach by using agro-industrial waste and bio-based alternatives to traditional, toxic solvents.

Researchers found that Cyrene was very effective when extracting hesperidin and rutin from dried orange peel and tea. Adding water to Cyrene enhances the solubility and extraction of hesperidin and rutin up to ten times compared to the original pure form.

With hesperidin recently attracting attention in the fight against COVID-19, we are delighted to see that our bio-based alternative to traditional, toxic solvents can extract rutin and hesperidin effectively and more sustainably. This work complements our developments using our core molecule – levoglucosenone (LGO) – to produce a key intermediate for coronavirus treatments, including COVID-19 therapeutics, said Tony Duncan, CEO and co-founder of Circa Group.

The study concludes that the “extraction methodology used is environmentally friendly and offers future potential of isolation of other flavonoids.”

The extraction of natural products, including medicines, is becoming increasingly important in the green economy since they remove the need for expensive and wasteful synthetic processes. It is vital that the extraction processes are themselves environmentally-friendly and here we show how the natural product-derived Cyrene is an ideal green extracting solvent, said James Clark, Scientific Advisor to Circa Group and Director of the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence.

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