Ultrasonic technique was employed to extract polysaccharides from longan fruit pericarp (PLFP). The optimal conditions for ultrasonic extraction of PLFP were determined by response surface methodology. Box-Behnken design was applied to evaluate the effects of three independent variables (ultrasonic power, time and temperature) on the recovery and 1,1′-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical scavenging activity of PLFP. The correlation analysis of two mathematical-regression models indicated that quadratic polynomial model could be employed to optimize the ultrasonic extraction of PLFP. From response surface plots, ultrasonic power, time and temperature exhibited independent and interactive effects on the extraction of PLFP. The DPPH radical scavenging activity of PLFP could be improved by application of various ultrasonic power, time and temperature, which was possible due to the degradation of polysaccharides to different extent. The optimal conditions to obtain the highest recovery and the strongest DPPH radical scavenging activity of PLFP were 120 W, 22 min and 60 °C, as well as 241 W, 18 min and 51 °C, respectively. Under these optimal conditions, the experimental values agreed with the predicted ones by analysis of variance. It indicated high fitness of two models used and the success of response surface methodology for optimizing PLFP extraction. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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