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    Indigo Naturalis is not only an ancient plant dye but also a famous herbal medicine with antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer properties. In traditional processes, thousands of manual stirring separate the high-quality Indigo Naturalis from the crude pulp system. However, this method is time-consuming and labor-intensive, resulting in an unstable quality and low yield, which cannot meet the requirements of modern industrial production. In this study, foam-separation technology was used to increase the industrial applicability of high-quality Indigo Naturalis. The process parameters were optimized based on the content of active ingredients, skin irritation effects, and antioxidative stress activity. The results showed that the optimal process of the foam separation achieved the liquid level difference of 40 cm and the foaming intensity of 0.35 MPa. Compared with the original sample, the indigo and indirubin contents in purified Indigo Naturalis were 1.6 and 3 times higher, the total ash content decreased from 86 to 70%, the pH value decreased from 12.18 to 9.71, and the leachate doubled. Animal experiments suggested the significantly reduced irritation (p < 0.01) and enhanced antioxidative stress activity (p < 0.01) of Indigo Naturalis after foam separation. Therefore, the foam-separation equipment developed in this study enabled the refinement of active ingredients in Indigo Naturalis, which greatly improved the production efficiency and quality.


    Xin Yang, Jun Tang, Juan Su, Xin Yang, Ming Yang, Xiangbo Yang, Qisen Ji, Yanan He, Li Han, Dingkun Zhang. High-Quality Indigo Naturalis Obtained with Automatic Foam Separation. ACS applied materials & interfaces. 2023 Sep 20;15(37):43272-43281

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    PMID: 37669429

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