In this study, the feasibility of improving the extraction yield of green tea antioxidant polyphenols by the combination of ultrasound-assisted extraction (UAE) and deep eutectic solvents (DESs) was investigated. Choline chloride (ChCl)-glycerol was selected as the best DES among 12 ChCl-based DESs to extract tea antioxidant polyphenols. Subsequently, the influences of extraction parameters on total phenolic content (TPC) values were investigated, and liquid/solid ratio, ultrasonic power, and ultrasonic time were optimized based on the response surface methodology. The optimal extraction conditions were a liquid to solid ratio of 36:1 (mL/g), ultrasonic power of 461.5 W, and ultrasonic time of 21 min, with the highest TPC value of 243 ± 7 mg gallic acid equivalent (mg GAE)/g dry weight (DW), which was 13% higher than that before optimization. In addition, under the optimal extraction conditions, tea polyphenolic extract exhibited higher antioxidant activity compared with conventional extraction methods. Four major catechins in the green tea extracts, including (−)-epicatechin (EC), (−)-epigallocatechin (EGC), (−)-epicatechin gallate (ECG) and (−)-epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) were identified and quantified by high-performance liquid chromatography. In addition, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analysis revealed that UAE-DES effectively disrupted the green tea leaf cells, thereby improving tea polyphenol yield. In summary, UAE-DES is an ideal green extraction method for the extraction of tea antioxidant polyphenols.
- Green tea
- Natural deep eutectic solvents
- Response surface methodology