Extract from root cortices of mulberry (Morus alba, L.) was separated into permeate and retentate fractions using a membrane system equipped with either a microfiltration membrane or one of four molecular weight cut-off ultrafiltration membranes. The effects of membrane process at volume concentration ratio (VCR)=4 on the physiochemical characteristics, the contents of active compounds, antioxidant ability, and whitening capability (tyrosinase inhibitory activity) in permeate and retentate were evaluated. The clarification degree, antioxidant effects, and whitening capability of the permeates increased as compared to those of feed. In addition, permeate treated with a 0.45 μm microfiltration membrane exhibited less fouling layer and specific resistance (αpCB=622.8 m-2×10-6) and thus had a higher permeate flux than treated with other ultrafiltration membranes (αpCB=786.1-1025.3 m-2×10-6). A higher content of active compounds, such as chlorogenoic acid and p-hydroxybenzoic acid may explain higher antioxidant and whitening capabilities in permeate of extracts from root cortices of mulberry.
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