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Special Issue "Bioactive Compounds and Antioxidant Activity of Extracts from different Natural Plants"

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049). This special issue belongs to the section "Natural Products Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 March 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Maria Atanassova

Guest Editor
Department of Chemical Engineering; Scientific consulting, UCTM–Sofia, Bulgaria
Interests: natural plants and products; methods of determination of bioactive compounds and antioxidant activity; different methods of extraction; total phenolic and total flavonoid compounds and vitamins and macro- and micro elements

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

“Health is priceless”—this is the maxim that we heard as children but whose truth we appreciate only when we do not feel well. In our everyday life, in the high-tech twenty-first century, we imperceptibly move away from the principles underlying a healthy lifestyle—active movement and a balanced diet. The power of food for the growth and development of the human organism has been known and applied in practice since ancient times. As early as in the fourth century BC, the father of modern medicine, Hippocrates said, “Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food”. A vast amount of historical evidence—old manuscripts, papyri, archaeological findings—proves that long before the birth of Christ, the ancient Chinese, Indians, Egyptians, Japanese, Greeks, and Romans cherished herbs, garlic, onion, honey, and honey products not only as food or spice but also as a medicine. In Hippocrates’ time, as well as during the Roman Empire, the dark years of the Middle Ages, and all the way up to now, wine has been recommended as a therapeutic means. We often forget that in addition to pleasure, food can mean health. Of course, this is only true if you know how to use, combine, and dose it.

Biologically active substances in foods are compounds which help people to maintain their vital functions, prevent multiple diseases, and ensure their effective treatment. There are different classifications of biologically active compounds depending on their origin, their chemical composition, and their structure, as well as on their biological activity, and last but not least, the effect of their influence on human health. Antioxidants and free radicals are popular terms used by both health professionals and specialists in other fields of science.

Over the past few years, an unprecedented explosion of information around the role of oxidative stress on a number of serious diseases such as cancer, diseases of the cardiovascular system, and some degenerative changes as well as diseases of the human organism associated with aging has been registered. Many diseases are associated with the action of the oxidants, which include active forms of oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur-centered radicals, and various other active radical forms. They are generated constantly in the body by means of the normal metabolism, environmental pollutants, and tension and stress that accompany our existence. Food as a source of antioxidants occupies a central role in the battle against the harmful effects of the free radicals, protecting the human body from many diseases, and confirming the dictum of Norman Kretschmer that “Food is the secret key to prevention”.

The main aims of this Special Issue on “Bioactive Compounds and Antioxidant Activity of Extracts from different Natural Plants” is to be an open forum where researchers may share their investigations and findings in this promising field and, thanks to the open access platform, increase their visibility and the chances to interact with industries and the production systems. Contributions to this issue, both in the form of original research or review articles, may cover all aspects of dietary and non-dietary bioactive compounds, nature plants and products, and different type of extractions; studies with a multidisciplinary input, offering new methodologies or insights, are particularly welcome.

Dr. Maria Atanassova
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Molecules is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Natural plants and products
  • Methods of determination of bioactive compounds
  • Different methods of extraction
  • Methods of determination of antioxidant activity
  • Total phenolic and total flavonoid compounds
  • Vitamins and macro- and micro elements

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Rhizopus oligosporus and Lactobacillus plantarum Co-Fermentation as a Tool for Increasing the Antioxidant Potential of Grass Pea and Flaxseed Oil-Cake Tempe
Molecules 2020, 25(20), 4759; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25204759 - 16 Oct 2020
Abstract
Tempe-type fermentation originating from Indonesia can enhance the antioxidant activity of plant material. However, this biological potential depends on substrates and applied microorganisms. This study aimed to determine whether co-fermentation with Rhizopus oligosporus and Lactobacillus plantarum improved antioxidant activity of tempe obtained from [...] Read more.
Tempe-type fermentation originating from Indonesia can enhance the antioxidant activity of plant material. However, this biological potential depends on substrates and applied microorganisms. This study aimed to determine whether co-fermentation with Rhizopus oligosporus and Lactobacillus plantarum improved antioxidant activity of tempe obtained from grass pea seeds with flaxseed oil-cake addition (up to 30%). For this purpose, substances reacting with Folin–Ciocalteu reagent and free radicals scavenging potential were measured in water-soluble fractions and dialysates from simulated in vitro digestion. Additionally, the water-soluble phenolic profile was estimated. The higher level of water-extractable compounds with antioxidant activity was determined in co-fermentation products than in fungal fermentation products. Moreover, the fermentation process with the use of L. plantarum contributed to a greater accumulation of some phenolic acids (gallic acid, protocatechuic acid) in tempe without having a negative effect on the levels of other phenolic compounds determined in fungal fermented tempe. During in vitro digestion simulating the human digestive tract, more antioxidant compounds were released from products obtained after co-fermentation than fungal fermentation. An addition of 20% flaxseed oil-cake and the application of bacterial–fungal co-fermentation, can be considered as an alternative tool to enhance the antioxidant parameters of grass pea tempe. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Flavonoid Profiles of Two New Approved Romanian Ocimum Hybrids
Molecules 2020, 25(19), 4573; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25194573 - 07 Oct 2020
Abstract
Basil (Ocimum spp.) is a traditional herbal medicine abundant in antioxidants such as phenolic compounds. As part of a diet, this herb is proved to have some roles in decreasing the risk of cancer, and in the treatment of inflammation and neurodegenerative [...] Read more.
Basil (Ocimum spp.) is a traditional herbal medicine abundant in antioxidants such as phenolic compounds. As part of a diet, this herb is proved to have some roles in decreasing the risk of cancer, and in the treatment of inflammation and neurodegenerative diseases. This study aims to explore the total phenolic and flavonoid content of two new basil hybrids growing in Romania, namely “Aromat de Buzau” (AB) and “Macedon” (MB). The antioxidant capacity of those two species was also analyzed by DPPH and cyclic voltammetry. Six different flavonoids, such as catechin (+), rutin, hyperoside, naringin, naringenin, and genistein, were separated, identified, and quantified by HPLC–DAD chromatography, for the first time, from romanian basil hybrids. The main flavonoid of the extracts was found to be naringin which is present in the highest amount (26.18 mg/kg) in “Aromat de Buzau” (O. basilicum) methanolic extract. These results suggest that dietary intake of these new hybrids can be a source of antioxidant compounds. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Comparison of the Partial Structure and Antioxidant Activity of Polysaccharides from Two Species of Chinese Truffles
Molecules 2020, 25(18), 4345; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25184345 - 22 Sep 2020
Abstract
Truffles are world-renowned premium commodities. Due to their unique aroma and rarity, the price of truffles has always been very high. In this study, Diethylaminoethyl anion exchange chromatography and gel filtration were employed for polysaccharide purification from two different species of Chinese truffles. [...] Read more.
Truffles are world-renowned premium commodities. Due to their unique aroma and rarity, the price of truffles has always been very high. In this study, Diethylaminoethyl anion exchange chromatography and gel filtration were employed for polysaccharide purification from two different species of Chinese truffles. Three polysaccharide fractions were obtained from Tuber panzhihuanense and referred to as TPZ-NP, TPZ-I, and TPZ-II. Additionally, two polysaccharide fractions were purified from T. pseudoexcavatum (TPD-NP and TPD-I). The results of structural elucidation indicated that the polysaccharide from different species showed different monosaccharide composition and linkage units, as well as molecular weight. Two of the polysaccharide fractions with the highest yield, TPZ-I and TPD-I, were chosen for biological testing. The results indicated that both fractions displayed antioxidant properties through mediation of the intestinal cellular antioxidant defense system, which could protect cultured intestinal cells from oxidative stress-induced damage and cell viability suppression. The TPD-I fraction showed stronger antioxidant effects, which may be due to the difference in structure. Further study on the structure-activity relationship is needed to be done. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Production and Characterization of Antioxidative Hydrolysates and Peptides from Corn Gluten Meal Using Papain, Ficin, and Bromelain
Molecules 2020, 25(18), 4091; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25184091 - 07 Sep 2020
Abstract
There has been a growing interest in developing natural antioxidants with high efficiency and low cost. Bioactive protein hydrolysates could be a potential source of natural and safer antioxidants. The objectives of this study were to hydrolyze corn gluten meal using three plant-derived [...] Read more.
There has been a growing interest in developing natural antioxidants with high efficiency and low cost. Bioactive protein hydrolysates could be a potential source of natural and safer antioxidants. The objectives of this study were to hydrolyze corn gluten meal using three plant-derived proteases, namely papain, ficin, and bromelain, to produce antioxidative hydrolysates and peptides and to characterize the antioxidant performances using both chemical assays and a ground meat model. The optimum hydrolysis time for papain was 3 h, and for ficin and bromelain was 4 h. The hydrolysates were further separated by sequential ultrafiltration to 5 hydrolysate fractions named F1 to F5 from low molecular weight (MW) (<1 kDa) to high MW range (>10 kDa), which were further characterized for TPC, free radical scavenging capacity against DPPH and ABTS, and metal chelating activity. The fraction F4 produced by papain (CH-P4), F1 produced by ficin (CH-F1), and F3 produced by bromelain (CH-B3) showed the strongest antioxidant activity and yield, respectively. These three fractions were incorporated into ground pork to determine their inhibition effects on lipid oxidation during a 16-day storage period. The inhibition effect was enhanced with the addition of higher amount of hydrolysate (e.g., 1000 vs. 500 mg/kg). The CH-P4 reduced lipid oxidation in ground meat by as much as 30.45%, and CH-B3 reduced oxidation by 27.2% at the same level, but the inhibition was only 13.83% with 1000 mg/kg of CH-F1. The study demonstrated that CGM protein hydrolysates and peptides could be used as naturally derived antioxidant in retarding lipid oxidation and improving product storage stability. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
The Impact of Herbal Infusion Consumption on Oxidative Stress and Cancer: The Good, the Bad, the Misunderstood
Molecules 2020, 25(18), 4207; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25184207 - 14 Sep 2020
Abstract
The release of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and oxidative stress is associated with the development of many ailments, including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and cancer. The causal link between oxidative stress and cancer is well established and antioxidants are suggested as a protective mechanism [...] Read more.
The release of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and oxidative stress is associated with the development of many ailments, including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and cancer. The causal link between oxidative stress and cancer is well established and antioxidants are suggested as a protective mechanism against cancer development. Recently, an increase in the consumption of antioxidant supplements was observed globally. The main sources of these antioxidants include fruits, vegetables, and beverage. Herbal infusions are highly popular beverages consumed daily for different reasons. Studies showed the potent antioxidant effects of plants used in the preparation of some herbal infusions. Such herbal infusions represent an important source of antioxidants and can be used as a dietary protection against cancer. However, uncontrolled consumption of herbal infusions may cause toxicity and reduced antioxidant activity. In this review, eleven widely consumed herbal infusions were evaluated for their antioxidant capacities, anticancer potential and possible toxicity. These herbal infusions are highly popular and consumed as daily drinks in different countries. Studies discussed in this review will provide a solid ground for researchers to have better understanding of the use of herbal infusions to reduce oxidative stress and as protective supplements against cancer development. Full article
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