Graduate Studies


First Advisor

Sibel Irmak

Second Advisor

Jeyamkondan Subbiah

Date of this Version



Bender, Emily (2019). Pulsed electric field assisted extraction of red cabbage juice and its nutraceutical role in a colitis mice model (M.S. Thesis).


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Agricultural and Biological Systems Engineering, Under the Supervision of Professor Jeyamkondan Subbiah and Professor Sibel Irmak. Lincoln, Nebraska: July, 2019

Copyright (c) 2019 Emily Bender


Nutraceutical compounds are health-promoting, bioactive compounds that can be found in fruits and vegetables such as red cabbage. Red cabbage is abundant in bioactive compounds known as anthocyanins. Anthocyanins provide the vivid red, purple, and blue colors to many fruits and vegetables; thus, they provide both health and visual appeal. To maintain the healthful benefits and the color of the anthocyanins, the extraction method utilized must not consist of degrading heat or chemicals. Mechanical pressing is an adequate extraction method; however, it produces low yields. There is potential for the yields to be increased with a pretreatment method applied prior to the mechanical pressing. Pulsed electric field (PEF) processing is a possible pretreatment method which utilizes short, high voltage pulses to permeabilize the plant cells. This study investigated the efficacy of PEF pretreatment to enhance the extraction of red cabbage juice and to maintain the bioactivity and anti-inflammatory properties of the extracted juice.

First, the processing parameters of the PEF system were optimized by investigating three electric field strengths (1.2, 1.8, 2.4 kV/cm) crossed with three capacitance levels (1, 2, 3 μF) compared to mechanical pressing alone. The total juice yield, phenolic content, anthocyanins content, and antioxidant activity were the responses measured. There was no significant differences among the electric field strengths tested; thus, the lowest electric field strength was optimal due to reduced input energy and related costs. There was a slight effect due to capacitance level, so 2 μF was considered reasonable. With these optimized conditions juice yield as well as the associated bioactive compounds extracted approximately doubled.

The anti-inflammatory potential of the red cabbage juice extracted with PEF assistance was further investigated. Red cabbage extract led to a proposed oxidative-induced apoptosis in colon cancer cell lines. In the colitis mice model, red cabbage extract served a protective role against dextran sodium sulfate-induced inflammation. Therefore, red cabbage has potential as a nutraceutical against inflammation.

Advisors: Jeyamkondan Subbiah & Sibel Irmak