Abstract: Drying is the most common and fundamental procedure in the post-harvest processing which contributes to the quality and valuation of medicinal plants. However, attention to and research work on this aspect is relatively poor. In this paper, we reveal dynamic variations of concentrations of five major bioactive components, namely salvianolic acid B (SaB), dihydrotanshinone I, cryptotanshinone, tanshinone I and tanshinone IIA, in roots of Salvia miltiorrhiza (Dashen) during the drying process at different oven temperatures. A minor amount of SaB was found in fresh materials while an noticeable increase in SaB was detected in drying at 50~160 °C. The maximal value occured after 40 min of drying at 130 °C and its variation showed a reverse V-shaped curve. Production of SaB exhibited a significant positive correlation with drying temperatures and a significant negative correlation with sample moistures. The amounts of tanshinones were nearly doubled in the early stage of drying and their variations showed similar changing trends with drying temperatures and sample moistures. The results supported our speculation that postharvest fresh plant materials, especially roots, were still physiologically active organs and would exhibit a series of anti-dehydration mechanisms including production of related secondary metabolites at the early stage of dehydration. Hence, the proper design of drying processes could contribute to promoting rather than reducing the quality of Danshen and other similar medicinal plants.
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Li, X.-B.; Wang, W.; Zhou, G.-J.; Li, Y.; Xie, X.-M.; Zhou, T.-S. Production of Salvianolic Acid B in Roots of Salvia miltiorrhiza (Danshen) During the Post-Harvest Drying Process. Molecules 2012, 17, 2388-2407.
Li X-B, Wang W, Zhou G-J, Li Y, Xie X-M, Zhou T-S. Production of Salvianolic Acid B in Roots of Salvia miltiorrhiza (Danshen) During the Post-Harvest Drying Process. Molecules. 2012; 17(3):2388-2407.
Li, Xiao-Bing; Wang, Wei; Zhou, Guo-Jun; Li, Yan; Xie, Xiao-Mei; Zhou, Tong-Shui. 2012. "Production of Salvianolic Acid B in Roots of Salvia miltiorrhiza (Danshen) During the Post-Harvest Drying Process." Molecules 17, no. 3: 2388-2407.