Influence of the extraction method on phytochemicals content and antioxidant activity of Sambucus nigra flowers

D. Mihaylova1*, R. Vrancheva2, I. Desseva2, D. Teneva3, P. Denev3, A. Krastanov1

1University of Food Technologies, Technological Faculty, Department of Biotechnology, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
2University of Food Technologies, Technological Faculty, Department of Analytical Chemistry and Physical Chemistry, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
3Institute of Organic Chemistry with Centre of Phytochemistry, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Laboratory of Biologically Active Substances, Plovdiv, Bulgaria

(Manuscript received 27 June 2022; accepted for publication 26 October 2023)

Abstract. Sambucus nigra L. (elder) is one of the most common plant species in Europe, widely used for its health and healing properties and with a long botanical history. In the present study, elderberry flowers were subjected to different extraction methods (infusion, decoction, microwave- and ultrasound- assisted extraction) and their phytochemical content and antioxidant potential were evaluated. As a result, the total phenolic content in the extracts varied between 34.21 ± 0.42 and 47.46 ± 1.87 mg GAE/g dw and the total flavonoid content was found to be in the range of 11.69 ± 0.16 and 16.18 ± 0.23 mg QE/g dw. The highest values were reported for decoction. Organic acid, phenolic acid and sugar profiles of content were evaluated and compared. Extraction method had a profound effect on the content of sugars, phenolic and organic acids extractability from the plant matter, decoction being the most efficient extraction method. In addition, the correlation between the analyses was studied, outlining the contribution of the contained phytochemicals. In conclusion, aqueous extracts of elderflowers can be considered a promising source of natural antioxidants and should be further investigated for the specific profile of phytochemicals present and promoted for consumption.