The dependence of the extent of aqueous extraction of antioxidant compounds on particle size and contact time was studied for three important medicinal plants, that are commonly used in infusions: agrimony, sage and savoury. The effect of extraction time was dependent on the plant considered; however, ca. 5 min can be taken as the minimum period required to assure an acceptable degree of extraction of those compounds. As expected, a smaller particle size led to a higher extraction extents; a typical value of 0.2 mm is accordingly recommended. Chlorogenic acid was the dominant phenolic compound extracted from agrimony, whereas caffeic acid dominated in the case of sage or savoury. A mathematical model based on Fick's law was developed from first principles, and its two parameters were suitably fitted to the experimental data generated - in attempts to predict the evolution of antioxidant capacity extracted during contact time, for each plant and each particle size.
- Phenolic compounds