The principal aim of this paper is to show the influence of soil characteristics on the quantitative variability of secondary metabolites. Analysis of phenolic content, flavonoid concentrations, and the antioxidant activity was performed using the ethanol and ethyl acetate plant extracts of the species Cichorium intybus
L. (Asteraceae). The samples were collected from one saline habitat and two non-saline habitats. The values of phenolic content from the samples taken from the saline habitat ranged from 119.83 to 120.83 mg GA/g and from non-saline habitats from 92.44 to 115.10 mg GA/g. The amount of flavonoids in the samples from the saline locality varied between 144.36 and 317.62 mg Ru/g and from non-saline localities between 86.03 and 273.07 mg Ru/g. The IC50
values of antioxidant activity in the samples from the saline habitat ranged from 87.64 to 117.73 μg/mL and from 101.44 to 125.76 μg/mL in the samples from non-saline habitats. The results confirmed that soil types represent a significant influence on the quantitative content of secondary metabolites. The greatest concentrations of phenols and flavonoids and the highest level of antioxidant activity were found in the samples from saline soil. This further corroborates the importance of saline soil as an ecological factor, as it is proven to give rise to increased biosynthesis of secondary metabolites and related antioxidant activity.
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