Background: Patents on phytochemicals are being registered worldwide. Such phytochemicals provide benefits to human health, and include terpenoids, phenolic compounds, alkaloids, lignin, and fiber.
Objective: This review has the purpose to provide a comprehensive overview of patents published in the last five years about extraction of phytochemicals and their application in the food and pharmaceutical industry. Method: Forty eight pa- tents were analyzed and classified in four topics of interest; 1) Extraction, 2) Functional foods, 3) Biological activity, and 4) Prevention of diseases.
Results: Extraction yield of phytochemicals is the critical step. The techniques to extract phytochemicals include enzymat- ic hydrolysis, nano-particulate precipitation, salts formation and combination of solvents; however, the use of ultrasound and microwave is increasing. Patents concerning functional foods include pediatric formulations, sport drink, and compo- sitions that produce beneficial effects. Biological activity of plant extracts tested in animals or cell cultures, as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer activity, reduction of obesity and diabetes are presented in this review. Application of phy- tochemicals in the prevention and treatment of health disorders, such as diabetes, gastritis, enteritis, topical inflammation, macular degeneration, gingivitis, prostatic hyperplasia, urinary impairments.
Conclusion: Patents revised include 30% methodologies for extraction of phytochemicals, 16% application of phytochem- icals in food matrixes to obtain functional foods, 18% biological activity of extracts or compounds and 36% application in the prevention and treatment of illness, which reveals a great interest to protect intellectual property concerning applica- tion of phytochemicals formulations for human health.