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Hot water extraction of Norway spruce (Picea abies [Karst.]) bark: analyses of the influence of bark aging and process parameters on the extract composition

  • Sauro Bianchi ORCID logo EMAIL logo , Gerald Koch , Ron Janzon , Ingo Mayer , Bodo Saake and Frédéric Pichelin
From the journal Holzforschung


The hot water (HW) extraction of Norway spruce (Picea abies [Karst.]) delivers condensed tannins and considerable amounts of other compounds. Yield and composition of the HW extracts were investigated as a function of natural weathering for up to 15 months. Total phenol monomers and oligomers were detected by Folin-Ciocaltau assay after fractionation by solid phase extraction (SPE). Procyanidins (PC) were determined by HPLC-UV after acid thiolysis and carbohydrates by HPLC combined with acid hydrolysis. Topochemistry of the bark before and after extraction was investigated by UV-microspectrometry (UMSP) and non-extractable PC analyzed by direct thiolysis on the bark. The influence of the parameters on the yield and composition of the extracts were evaluated, such as the extraction temperature, time and the addition of sodium sulfate and urea. Prolonged weathering resulted in a considerable decrease of the total extraction yield, partly because of leaching of phenolic monomers, mono- and oligosaccharides. The yield of phenolic oligomers also decreased at a moderate rate, while the yield of polysaccharides (pectins) was almost stable. Non-extractable and non-leachable compounds deposited in the cell lumens represent the majority of the phenolic extractives in spruce bark. Sequential extractions performed at increasing temperature proved to be a suitable method for the recovery of tannin-rich extracts.

Corresponding author: Sauro Bianchi, Bern University of Applied Science, Architecture Wood and Civil Engineering, Solothurnstrasse 102, 2502 Biel/Bienne, Switzerland, e-mail: .


The authors would like to thank the Swiss National Research Program “Resource Wood” (NRP66) for their financial support; the Burgergemeinde Biel for providing the raw bark; Christina Hinterleitner from the Bern University of Applied Science for her great support in the development and implementation of the analytical work; Nicole Erasmy from the University of Hamburg, for her assistance in the carbohydrate analysis; Daniela Paul from Thünen Institute for her help in UMSP measurements.


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Received: 2015-7-15
Accepted: 2015-11-15
Published Online: 2015-12-16
Published in Print: 2016-7-1

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