The effects of temperature (50–200 °C) and contact time (5–30 min) on the pressurized hot water extraction of deodorized thyme were explored for antioxidant activity, polyphenol profiles, and total antioxidants. Six not previously reported polyphenolic compounds were identified in thyme. An inverse correlation was found between the antioxidant activity and total antioxidants with the amount and diversity of polyphenols. The highest total extract yield and antioxidant activity were obtained at 200 °C, although maximum polyphenol extraction yields of hydroxycinnamic acids, flavones, flavonols/flavanones, and total polyphenols were detected at 100 °C and 5 min. Higher temperatures and longer exposure times reduced extract polyphenol diversity. Dihydroxyphenyllactic acid was the only phenolic compound for which extraction yield increased with temperature, probably as a product of the thermal degradation of rosmarinic acid. Consequently, for extracting phenolics from thyme, 100 °C and 5 min would be appropriate operating conditions, whereas antioxidant-active nonphenolic compounds were favored at higher temperatures and exposure times.

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