In order to develop new pharmaceutical strategies, natural compounds represent an extremely wide category to exploit. In this landscape, the number of in vitro, in vivo and clinical trials investigating the therapeutic potential of curcumin is exponentially increasing, due to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. The possibility to obtain this phytochemical both by chemical synthesis and by extraction from natural sources, makes the environmental assessments of these alternative productions of paramount importance in a green chemistry perspective to pursue an always more sustainable development for industrial and academic research. The present work reports detailed and quantitative environmental assessments of three different curcumin production strategies: synthesis, Soxhlet-based extraction and microwave-assisted extraction. The chemical synthesis of curcumin, as recently optimized by the authors, has been firstly evaluated by using the EATOS software followed by a complete “cradle to the grave” study, realized by applying the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology, to account for fundamental impact categories, different from the mere quantification of the loads associated to the chemicals employed. Two different extraction strategies were completely assessed and quantified by similar studies, considering also the cultivation of Curcuma longa L., the production of the dried rhizomes as well as their commercialization. Particularly a conventional Soxhlet-based extraction and a microwave-assisted extraction (MAE) procedure were considered, in order to firstly confirm the widely claimed green character of MAE with respect to more conventional extraction procedures. The results related to the two different extraction strategies were finally compared to those obtained in the chemical synthesis of curcumin. Moreover, in order to account for the therapeutic characteristics of curcumin, particularly its well known curative effect on cancer cachexia, a new indicator has been developed and implemented in the present LCA investigation. This work represents the first example of a comparison of productions strategies based on environmental assessments, thus smoothing the way towards a highly desirable establishment of environmentally friendly rankings, comprising all the existing alternatives to the chemical synthesis of a target chemical compound.
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|Data di pubblicazione:||2015|
|Autori:||Zerazion, Elisabetta; Rosa, Roberto; Ferrari, Erika; Neri, Paolo; Ferrari, Anna Maria|
|Titolo:||Analisi comparativa LCA dell’estrazione diretta convenzionale ed innovativa di Curcumina|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||Abstract in Atti di Convegno|
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