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Cultivating Sustainability: Extracting Curcuminoids from Curcuma longa using a Green Approach
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1  National Institute of Chemistry, Hajdrihova ulica 19, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Academic Editor: Juan Francisco García Martín


Industries worldwide have a significant influence on the environment, affecting it through the consumption of resources and the generation of waste. The linear model, characterized by a take–make–dispose approach, has led to widespread waste accumulation. Data from The World Counts indicate that humanity requires 1.82 planets to effectively manage CO2, waste, and resources effectively. This figure is projected to rise to two planets by 2030 if current trends persist. Addressing this pressing environmental challenge requires the adoption of nature-aligned technologies and processes. Given these circumstances, and with the ongoing evolution of technology and expansion of industries, transitioning from a linear to a circular economy emerges as a pivotal and crucial step. Industries can reinforce global circularity initiatives by adhering to green chemistry principles, which include the use of safer chemicals, recovery of by-products, and implementation of waste separation and recycling practices. Notably, a significant portion of operational costs, up to 80%, is attributed to downstream processes. Bearing this in mind, the present study focuses on a sustainable methodology for the extraction and purification of curcuminoids from Curcuma longa, employing aqueous micellar solutions. By integrating solid–liquid (SLE) and liquid–liquid extractions (LLE), this approach streamlines conventional procedures while utilizing environmentally friendly solvents. The SLE solvent is comprised of a buffer and a biodegradable surfactant, capable of forming an aqueous micellar two-phase system (AMTPS), a specific type of LLE. The successful optimization of both SLE and LLE parameters yielded curcuminoid recovery and selectivity exceeding 95% each. This optimized methodology demonstrates promising outcomes in curcuminoid isolation from Curcuma longa. Furthermore, an optimized HPLC method enhances the separation of individual curcuminoids.

Keywords: Curcuma longa; aqueous micellar two-phase systems; curcumin; curcuminoids; circular economy; sustainable