An optimised aqueous extract of phenolic compounds from bitter melon with high antioxidant capacity

Sing Pei Tan, Costas Stathopoulos, Sophie Parks, Paul Roach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


Bitter melon (Momordica charantia L.) is a tropical fruit claimed to have medicinal properties associated with its content of phenolic compounds (TPC). The aim of the study was to compare water with several organic solvents (acetone, butanol, methanol and 80% ethanol) for its efficiency at extracting the TPC from freeze-dried bitter melon powder. The TPC of the extracts was measured using the Folin-Ciocalteu reagent and their antioxidant capacity (AC) was evaluated using three assays. Before optimisation, the TPC and AC of the aqueous extract were 63% and 20% lower, respectively, than for the best organic solvent, 80% ethanol. However, after optimising for temperature (80 °C), time (5 min), water-to-powder ratio (40:1 mL/g), particle size (1 mm) and the number of extractions of the same sample (1×), the TPC and the AC of the aqueous extract were equal or higher than for 80% ethanol. Furthermore, less solvent (40 mL water/g) and less time (5 min) were needed than was used for the 80% ethanol extract (100 mL/g for 1 h). Therefore, this study provides evidence to recommend the use of water as the solvent of choice for the extraction of the phenolic compounds and their associated antioxidant activities from bitter melon.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)814-829
Number of pages16
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Antioxidant capacity
  • Aqueous extraction
  • Bitter melon
  • Organic solvents
  • Phenolic compounds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Physiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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