General objective of the present work was to assess the isolation of polyphenols from olive leaves. The effects of extraction conditions on the total phenol content and antioxidant activity of olive leaf extract (OLE) were investigated. An extract with good antioxidant activity (7.52 mmol of Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity (TEAC)/g olive leaf extract), and a high content of oleuropein (13.4%) and rutin (0.18%) could be obtained using 70% ethanol as extraction solvent. There was a good correlation between the antioxidant activity and the total phenol content. Furthermore, silk fibroin was used as a novel adsorbent to recover the polyphenols from the olive leaf extracts. The adsorbed amounts of rutin and oleuropein were 15 mg rutin/g silk fibroin and 96 mg oleuropein/g silk fibroin. Fraction consisting of mainly oleuropein and fraction rich in rutin, luteolin-7-glucoside, verbascoside, apigenin-7-glucoside were obtained by using silk fibroin filled column. Silk fibroin was found to be a promising adsorbent for the purification of oleuropein and rutin from olive leaf extracts. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.