Evaluation of different solvents to extract antibacterial compounds from jalapeño peppers
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Chili peppers (Capsicum spp.) may possess antibacterial properties and have potential to be used in foods as antimicrobial. The complete chili pepper extract should be evaluated to determine which compounds are responsible for the antimicrobial activity. Extraction of compounds from the pepper is completed using a solvent. The type of solvent used for extraction influences which compounds are isolated, therefore the best extraction method needs to be determined. The purpose of this study was to identify which solvent is most successful at extracting unknown antibacterial compounds from jalapeño peppers. Fresh jalapeño peppers were chopped, weighed, and blended with a solvent (sterilized hot water, 70% methanol, 95% methanol, 70% ethanol, or 95% ethanol) at a 1:1 ratio (g/g) until the mixture was homogenized, followed by shaking for 15 min. The slurry was centrifuged; supernatant was removed and used for antibacterial testing against Listeria monocytogenes, Escherichia coli O157:H7, and Salmonella enterica. The diameter of growth inhibition was measured and statistically evaluated using ANOVA to determine the extract with the greatest antimicrobial activity. Solvents were tested alone as a control. There was greater bacterial inhibition from extracts created with methanol and ethanol than hot water. Listeria monocytogenes was significantly more susceptible to the extracts than E. coli or Salmonella isolates. Each solvent extract was then analyzed using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and fractions (A–G) were collected and used for subsequent disk diffusion analysis against L. monocytogenes. Fractions E and F (eluded between 20 and 30 min) exhibited the most antibacterial activity. There were no differences between solvents used (p = .05). Further investigation into specific compounds within these extracts will be completed in the future.