Jatropha (Jatropha curcas
L.) is a plant native of Central and South America, but widely distributed in the wild or semi-cultivated areas in Africa, India, and South East Asia. Although studies are available in literature on the polyphenolic content and bioactivity of Jatropha curcas
L., no information is currently available on plants grown in pedoclimatic and soil conditions different from the autochthon regions. The aim of the present work was to characterize the antioxidant system developed by the plant under a new growing condition and to evaluate the polyphenol amount in a methanolic extract of leaves. Along with these analyses we have also tested the antioxidant and cytoprotective activities on lymphocytes. RP-HPLC-DAD analysis of flavonoids revealed a chromatographic profile dominated by the presence of flavone C
-glucosydes. Vitexin is the most abundant identified compound followed by vicenin-2, stellarin-2, rhoifolin, and traces of isovitexin and isorhoifolin. Methanolic extract had high scavenging activity in all antioxidant assays tested and cytoprotective activity on lymphocytes exposed to tertz-buthylhydroperoxide. The results highlighted a well-defined mechanism of adaptation of the plant and a significant content of secondary metabolites with antioxidant properties, which are of interest for their potential uses, especially as a rich source of biologically active products.
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