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Use of aqueous two-phase systems consisting of sugar alcohols and polymer as a new platform for arbutin separation

Najmeh Deshasteh, Shahla Shahriari, and Toktam Mostaghim

Department of Food Science and Technology, Shahr-e-Qods Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran



Received: 17 August 2022  Accepted: 4 November 2022


In this work, the separation of arbutin using aqueous two-phase systems (ATPSs) has been demonstrated. Arbutin is a natural ingredient that is abundant in pear peels and is widely used in cosmetic and pharmaceutical products. The ternary phase diagrams composed of polyethylene glycol (PEG) with molecular weights of 4000 g mol−1, sugar alcohols, namely sorbitol and xylitol, and water and the respective tie lines were determined at 298 K. The separation was studied based on the partitioning behavior of arbutin in ATPS. Two different ATPSs, the first ATPS formed by PEG (4000 g mol−1) + sorbitol + H2O and the second ATPS formed by PEG PEG (4000 g mol−1) + xylitol + H2O, were evaluated in the partitioning of arbutin. The negative values of the molar Gibbs energy indicated that the migration of arbutin to the PEG-rich phase (top phase) was a spontaneous process. The effects of PEG concentrations, sugar alcohol concentrations, and pH on arbutin partitioning were also investigated. The highest recovery percentage of arbutin in the upper phase with ATPS composed of PEG (28.50 wt%) + sorbitol (40 wt%) at pH = 5 was found at 92.08%. The highest recovery percentage in the system consisting of PEG (29 wt%) + xylitol (39 wt%) at pH = 5 was obtained at 85.29%.

Keywords: Aqueous two-phase systems; Arbutin; Separation; Sugar alcohols

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.1007/s11696-022-02578-2


Chemical Papers 77 (3) 1645–1654 (2023)

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