A novel microwave assisted multi-stage countercurrent extraction (MAMCE) technique was developed for the extraction of dihydromyricetin from Chinese rattan tea, Ampelopsis grossedentata. The technique combined the advantages of microwave heating and dynamic multi-stage countercurrent extraction and achieved marked improvement in extraction efficiency over microwave assisted batch extraction. Analysis of dihydromyricetin concentrations in the solvent and matrix throughout the extraction process showed that by dividing the extraction into multiple stages and exchanging of solvents between stages, steady and substantial concentration gradients were established between the matrix and solvent, thus enabling the achievement of high extraction efficiency. The yield of dihydromyricetin was significantly affected by temperature, pH, solvent/material ratio and extraction time, and optimal extraction conditions were found to be 80-100°C, at acidic pH with a solvent/material ratio of 25-30 to 1 and extraction time of 5-10 min. With the high extraction efficiency and low usage of extraction solvent, MAMCE could prove to be a promising extraction technique which can be applied to the extraction of dihydromyricentin and other bioactive substances from natural materials.
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