Topical Collection "Bioactive Compounds in Plants"

A topical collection in Plants (ISSN 2223-7747). This collection belongs to the section "Phytochemistry".

Editors

Dr. Laura Cornara
E-Mail Website
Collection Editor
Department of Earth, Environment and Life Sciences (DISTAV), University of Genoa, Corso Europa 26, 16132 Genoa, Italy
Interests: plant anatomy and micromorphology; medicinal plants; ethnobotany; pharmacognosy; biological activity of secondary plant metabolites
Dr. Antonella Smeriglio
E-Mail Website
Collection Editor
Department of Chemical, Biological, Pharmaceutical and Environmental Sciences (CHIBIOFARAM), University of Messina, Via SS Annunziata, 98168 Messina, Italy
Interests: natural compounds; polyphenols; plant extracts; pharmacognosy; functional foods; nutraceuticals; pharmacology; toxicology; antioxidant activity; anti-inflammatory activity; cytoprotective activity; clinical studies
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

The journal Plants will jointly be publishing a Topical Collection on bioactive compounds in plants. Plant secondary metabolites are receiving ever-increasing attention due to their several health properties for a multitude of applications, not only for more common uses such as those in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and food industries, but also as new sources of eco-friendly biopesticides. Plant secondary metabolites play an important role as defense mechanisms in response to pathogenic organisms and predatory herbivores, and may also act as herbicides by inhibiting the growth of competing plants.

This Topical Collection will focus on a multidisciplinary approach to the study of plant secondary metabolites, including micro-morphological and histochemical studies aiming to identify and characterize the site of secretion and storage of bioactive compounds in plant tissues. Moreover, extraction and chemical characterization, as well as biological properties by in vitro cell-free and cell-based assays, of phytocomplexes or their isolated bioactive compounds, will be welcome.

Wide fields of application will be considered, including animal and human well-being as well as ecological aspects, also considering the ever-growing interest in the use of plant extracts and molecules of natural origin as biopesticides or for foodstuff management.

Moreover, studies related to the recovery of plant waste products will be also welcome, mainly from agri-food chains, including the agricultural production of medicinal plants. These studies should aim to highlight the potential use of plants and their byproducts as sources of bioactive compounds for animal or human interest, in light of the new concept of circular economy.

Dr. Laura Cornara
Dr. Antonella Smeriglio
Collection Editors

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 collection 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. Plants 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 2200 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

  • plant extracts
  • essential oil
  • plant byproducts
  • micro-morphological features
  • histochemical features
  • phytochemical profile
  • bioactive compounds
  • health effects
  • biopesticides
  • circular economy

Published Papers (24 papers)

2022

Jump to: 2021, 2020

Article
Ethnomedicinal and Ethnobotanical Survey in the Aosta Valley Side of the Gran Paradiso National Park (Western Alps, Italy)
Plants 2022, 11(2), 170; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11020170 - 09 Jan 2022
Viewed by 144
Abstract
Most of traditional knowledge about plants and their uses is fast disappearing because of socio-economic and land use changes. This trend is also occurring in bio-cultural refugia, such as mountain areas. New data on Traditional Ethnobotanical Knowledge (TEK) of Italian alpine regions were [...] Read more.
Most of traditional knowledge about plants and their uses is fast disappearing because of socio-economic and land use changes. This trend is also occurring in bio-cultural refugia, such as mountain areas. New data on Traditional Ethnobotanical Knowledge (TEK) of Italian alpine regions were collected relating to three valleys (Cogne, Valsavarenche, Rhêmes) of the Gran Paradiso National Park. Extensive dialogues and semi-structured interviews with 68 native informants (30 men, 38 women; mean age 70) were carried out between 2017 and 2019. A total of 3918 reports were collected, concerning 217 taxa (including 10 mushrooms, 1 lichen) mainly used for medicinal (42%) and food (33%) purposes. Minor uses were related to liquor making (7%), domestic (7%), veterinary (5%), forage (4%), cosmetic (1%) and other (2%). Medicinal plants were used to treat 14 ailment categories, of which the most important were respiratory (22%), digestive (19%), skin (13%), musculoskeletal (10%) and genitourinary (10%) diseases. Data were also evaluated by quantitative ethnobotanical indexes. The results show a rich and alive traditional knowledge concerning plants uses in the Gran Paradiso National Park. Plants resources may provide new opportunities from the scientific point of view, for the valorization of local products for health community and for sustainable land management. Full article
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2021

Jump to: 2022, 2020

Review
Comparison between the Biological Active Compounds in Plants with Adaptogenic Properties (Rhaponticum carthamoides, Lepidium meyenii, Eleutherococcus senticosus and Panax ginseng)
Plants 2022, 11(1), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11010064 - 26 Dec 2021
Viewed by 325
Abstract
Background: In the 1960s, research into plant adaptogens began. Plants with adaptogenic properties have rich phytochemical compositions and have been used by humanity since ancient times. However, it is not still clear whether the adaptogenic properties are because of specific compounds or because [...] Read more.
Background: In the 1960s, research into plant adaptogens began. Plants with adaptogenic properties have rich phytochemical compositions and have been used by humanity since ancient times. However, it is not still clear whether the adaptogenic properties are because of specific compounds or because of the whole plant extracts. The aim of this review is to compare the bioactive compounds in the different parts of these plants. Methods: The search strategy was based on studies related to the isolation of bioactive compounds from Rhaponticum carthamoides, Lepidium meyenii, Eleutherococcus senticosus, and Panax ginseng. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines were followed. Results: This review includes data from 259 articles. The phytochemicals isolated from Rhaponticum carthamoides, Lepidium meyenii, Eleutherococcus senticosus, and Panax ginseng were described and classified in several categories. Conclusions: Plant species have always played an important role in drug discovery because their effectiveness is based on the hundreds of years of experience with folk medicine in different nations. In our view, there is great potential in the near future for some of the phytochemicals found in these plants species to become pharmaceutical agents. Full article
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Article
Dihydrophenanthrenes from a Sicilian Accession of Himantoglossum robertianum (Loisel.) P. Delforge Showed Antioxidant, Antimicrobial, and Antiproliferative Activities
Plants 2021, 10(12), 2776; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10122776 - 15 Dec 2021
Viewed by 533
Abstract
The peculiar aspect that emerges from the study of Orchidaceae is the presence of various molecules, which are particularly interesting for pharmaceutical chemistry due to their wide range of biological resources. The aim of our study was to investigate the properties of two [...] Read more.
The peculiar aspect that emerges from the study of Orchidaceae is the presence of various molecules, which are particularly interesting for pharmaceutical chemistry due to their wide range of biological resources. The aim of our study was to investigate the properties of two dihydrophenanthrenes, isolated, for the first time, from Himantoglossum robertianum (Loisel.) P. Delforge (Orchidaceae) bulbs and roots. Chemical and spectroscopic study of the bulbs and roots of Himantoglossumrobertianum (Loisel.) P. Delforge resulted in the isolation of two known dihydrophenanthrenes—loroglossol and hircinol—never isolated from this plant species. The structures were evaluated based on 1H-NMR, 13C-NMR, and two-dimensional spectra, and by comparison with the literature. These two molecules have been tested for their possible antioxidant, antimicrobial, antiproliferative, and proapoptotic activities. In particular, it has been shown that these molecules cause an increase in the activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), and glutathione S-transferase (GST) in polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMN); show antimicrobial activity against Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus, and have anti-proliferative effects on gastric cancer cell lines, inducing apoptosis effects. Therefore, these two molecules could be considered promising candidates for pharmaceutical and nutraceutical preparations. Full article
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Review
Vegetal Compounds as Sources of Prophylactic and Therapeutic Agents in Dentistry
Plants 2021, 10(10), 2148; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10102148 - 10 Oct 2021
Viewed by 667
Abstract
Dental pathology remains a global health problem affecting both children and adults. The most important dental diseases are dental caries and periodontal pathologies. The main cause of oral health problems is overpopulation with pathogenic bacteria and for this reason, conventional therapy can often [...] Read more.
Dental pathology remains a global health problem affecting both children and adults. The most important dental diseases are dental caries and periodontal pathologies. The main cause of oral health problems is overpopulation with pathogenic bacteria and for this reason, conventional therapy can often be ineffective due to bacterial resistance or may have unpleasant side effects. For that reason, studies in the field have focused on finding new therapeutic alternatives. Special attention is paid to the plant kingdom, which offers a wide range of plants and active compounds in various pathologies. This review focused on the most used plants in the dental field, especially on active phytocompounds, both in terms of chemical structure and in terms of mechanism of action. It also approached the in vitro study of active compounds and the main types of cell lines used to elucidate the effect and mechanism of action. Thus, medicinal plants and their compounds represent a promising and interesting alternative to conventional therapy. Full article
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Article
Phenolic Composition and Biological Properties of Rhus microphylla and Myrtillocactus geometrizans Fruit Extracts
Plants 2021, 10(10), 2010; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10102010 - 25 Sep 2021
Viewed by 939
Abstract
Plants from arid zones of Mexico are an interesting source of phytochemicals that exhibit a large number of biological properties. In this context, Rhus microphylla (Rm) and Myrtillocactus geometrizans (Mg) fruits have been used as folk remedies and to make traditional foods, respectively; [...] Read more.
Plants from arid zones of Mexico are an interesting source of phytochemicals that exhibit a large number of biological properties. In this context, Rhus microphylla (Rm) and Myrtillocactus geometrizans (Mg) fruits have been used as folk remedies and to make traditional foods, respectively; however, studies on their composition and bioactivity are limited. Thus, the objective of this work was to evaluate the yields, phenolic composition, and bioactive properties (scavenging and reducing capacities, antiproliferative, and antifungal) of aqueous and hydroalcohol extracts of Rm and Mg fruits obtained by conventional agitation and ohmic heating (OH). The results showed that the Rm fruit extracts had the highest total phenolic content (TPC) values and the strongest scavenging and reducing capacities compared to those of Mg fruits, being characterized by the presence of gallic acid, while the composition of the Mg extracts varied with respect to the extraction conditions used. Regarding antifungal activity in vitro against two phytopathogenic fungi, Rhizopus stolonifer and Fusarium oxysporum, the hydroalcohol extracts obtained by conventional agitation of both plants (RmH-C and MgH-C) showed the best inhibitory effect, respectively. Interestingly, none of the extracts under study presented cytotoxicity against the noncancerous ARPE-19 cell line, while three extracts of Rm fruit exhibited a moderate antiproliferative activity against HeLa (cancerous) cell line. These findings reveal for the first time the potential of Rm and Mg fruits as a new source of bioactive compounds for future industrial applications. Full article
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Article
Variation in Phytochemical, Antioxidant and Volatile Composition of Pomelo Fruit (Citrus grandis (L.) Osbeck) during Seasonal Growth and Development
Plants 2021, 10(9), 1941; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10091941 - 17 Sep 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 788
Abstract
Citrus fruits exhibit a high level of different phytoconstituents, of which the changes in the different parts of the fruit during ripening have not been thoroughly studied yet. Thus, in this study, we have investigated how different parts of pomelo fruit (Citrus [...] Read more.
Citrus fruits exhibit a high level of different phytoconstituents, of which the changes in the different parts of the fruit during ripening have not been thoroughly studied yet. Thus, in this study, we have investigated how different parts of pomelo fruit (Citrus grandis L.) are modified throughout the development of two consecutive growing seasons. In detail, the main phytochemical compounds, such as total phenolic content, total flavonoid content, antioxidant capacity, DPPH free radical scavenging activity, Ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP), and naringin and tannin content, were analyzed. A systematic metabolism of these compounds was found during the development of the fruit, but some pomelo tissues showed a fluctuating trend, suggesting a dependence on the different growing season. Focusing on the tissue distribution of these compounds, the fruit membrane contained the highest level of total phenolic and flavonoid content; fruit flavedo displayed the highest antioxidant capacities and FRAP activities, whereas maximum accumulation of naringin was noticed in fruit albedo. Instead, the highest DPPH free radical scavenging activity and tannin contents were found in the pomelo juice. Regarding the distribution of compounds, a possible bias pattern for the accumulation of those compounds has been noticed throughout the fruit development. From the GC-MS analysis, a total of 111 compounds were identified, where 91 compounds were common in both seasons. Overall, these results could be useful for the food processing industry as guidelines for excellent quality foods and for introducing health-beneficial products and components into our daily diets. Full article
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Article
A Comparative Study on Photo-Protective and Anti-Melanogenic Properties of Different Kadsura coccinea Extracts
Plants 2021, 10(8), 1633; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10081633 - 09 Aug 2021
Viewed by 620
Abstract
Kadsura coccinea (KC), a beneficial plant for human health, has been used for centuries in China, Thailand, and Korea in folk medicine and food. There is evidence supporting the biological effects of highly bioactive ingredients in KC such as lignans, triterpenoids, flavonoids, phenolic [...] Read more.
Kadsura coccinea (KC), a beneficial plant for human health, has been used for centuries in China, Thailand, and Korea in folk medicine and food. There is evidence supporting the biological effects of highly bioactive ingredients in KC such as lignans, triterpenoids, flavonoids, phenolic acids, steroids, and amino acids. In this study, we aimed to explore the effects, functions, and mechanisms of the extracts from KC root (KCR), stem (KCS), leaf (KCL), and fruit (KCF) in UVA and UVB-irradiated keratinocytes and α-melanocyte stimulating hormone (α-MSH)-stimulated melanocytes. First, the total polyphenol and flavonoid contents of KCR, KCS, KCL, and KCF and their radical scavenging activities were investigated. These parameters were found to be in the following order: KCL > KCR > KCS > KCF. UVA and UVB-irradiated keratinocytes were treated with KCR, KCS, KCL, and KCF, and keratinocyte viability, LDH release, intracellular ROS production, and apoptosis were examined. Our results demonstrated that KC extracts improved keratinocyte viability and reduced LDH release, intracellular ROS production, and apoptosis in the presence UVA and UVB irradiation. The overall photoprotective activity of the KC extracts was confirmed in the following order: KCL > KCR > KCS > KCF. Moreover, KC extracts significantly decreased the intracellular melanin content and tyrosinase activity in α-MSH-stimulated melanocytes. Mechanistically, KC extracts reduced the protein and mRNA expression levels of tyrosinase, tyrosinase-related protein-1 (TRP-1), and tyrosinase-related protein-2 (TRP-2) in α-MSH-stimulated melanocytes. In addition, these extracts markedly downregulated myophthalmosis-related transcription factor expression and cAMP-related binding protein phosphorylation, which is upstream of the regulation of Tyrosinase, TRP-1, and TRP-2. The overall anti-melanogenic activity of the KC extracts was established in the following order. KCL > KCR > KCS > KCF. Overall, the KC extracts exert photoprotective and anti-melanogenic effects, providing a basis for developing potential skin-whitening and photoprotective agents. Full article
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Article
Selective Anticancer Properties, Proapoptotic and Antibacterial Potential of Three Asplenium Species
Plants 2021, 10(6), 1053; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10061053 - 25 May 2021
Viewed by 722
Abstract
The ferns Asplenium ceterach L., Asplenium scolopendrium L. and Asplenium trichomanes L. have wide application in traditional medicine worldwide. However, the scientific research on their anticancer and antibacterial properties is insufficient. The present article aims to provide more information on this topic. Extracts [...] Read more.
The ferns Asplenium ceterach L., Asplenium scolopendrium L. and Asplenium trichomanes L. have wide application in traditional medicine worldwide. However, the scientific research on their anticancer and antibacterial properties is insufficient. The present article aims to provide more information on this topic. Extracts derived from the aerial parts of A. ceterach, A. scolopendrium and A. trichomanes were examined using a panel of in vitro assays with different bacterial and mammalian cells. The cytotoxicity and anticancer activity of the samples were analyzed by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) and Trypan blue assays with three human (A549, FL, HeLa) and three murine (3T3, TIB-71, LS48) cell lines. Inhibitory effects on the growth of Gram-positive (Bacillus cereus) and Gram-negative (Pseudomonas aeruginosa) bacteria were determined by the agar diffusion assay. Apoptosis-inducing properties of the extracts were analyzed by flow cytometry. Superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity in extract-treated cells was investigated by ELISA. The obtained results demonstrate selective anticancer activity of all three Asplenium species. The extract from A. ceterach displayed the strongest inhibitory properties against human cervical cancer cells and bacterial cells. It induced a lower level of cytotoxicity against mouse cell lines, indicating a species-specific effect. The extract from A. trichomanes demonstrated better anticancer and antibacterial properties than the sample from A. scolopendrium. Further experiments linked the mechanism of action of A. ceterach extract with oxidative stress-inducing potential and strong proapoptotic potential against the cervical cancer cell line HeLa. A. trichomanes and A. scolopendrium extracts appeared to be potent inducers of necrotic cell death. Full article
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Review
β-Ionone: Its Occurrence and Biological Function and Metabolic Engineering
Plants 2021, 10(4), 754; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10040754 - 12 Apr 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 997
Abstract
β-Ionone is a natural plant volatile compound, and it is the 9,10 and 9′,10′ cleavage product of β-carotene by the carotenoid cleavage dioxygenase. β-Ionone is widely distributed in flowers, fruits, and vegetables. β-Ionone and other apocarotenoids comprise flavors, aromas, pigments, growth regulators, and [...] Read more.
β-Ionone is a natural plant volatile compound, and it is the 9,10 and 9′,10′ cleavage product of β-carotene by the carotenoid cleavage dioxygenase. β-Ionone is widely distributed in flowers, fruits, and vegetables. β-Ionone and other apocarotenoids comprise flavors, aromas, pigments, growth regulators, and defense compounds; serve as ecological cues; have roles as insect attractants or repellants, and have antibacterial and fungicidal properties. In recent years, β-ionone has also received increased attention from the biomedical community for its potential as an anticancer treatment and for other human health benefits. However, β-ionone is typically produced at relatively low levels in plants. Thus, expressing plant biosynthetic pathway genes in microbial hosts and engineering the metabolic pathway/host to increase metabolite production is an appealing alternative. In the present review, we discuss β-ionone occurrence, the biological activities of β-ionone, emphasizing insect attractant/repellant activities, and the current strategies and achievements used to reconstruct enzyme pathways in microorganisms in an effort to to attain higher amounts of the desired β-ionone. Full article
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Article
Phytochemical Composition, Antioxidant and Antimicrobial Activity of the Balkan Endemic Micromeria frivaldszkyana (Degen) Velen. (Lamiaceae)
Plants 2021, 10(4), 710; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10040710 - 07 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 656
Abstract
The current study investigates the content of sugars, organic acids, phenolic acids and flavonoids, as well as antioxidant and antimicrobial activity of Balkan-endemic Micromeria frivaldszkyana. Glucose was the most abundant sugar in the plant (2.77%), followed by fructose (1.18%) and galactose (0.82%). [...] Read more.
The current study investigates the content of sugars, organic acids, phenolic acids and flavonoids, as well as antioxidant and antimicrobial activity of Balkan-endemic Micromeria frivaldszkyana. Glucose was the most abundant sugar in the plant (2.77%), followed by fructose (1.18%) and galactose (0.82%). Eight organic acids were detected with quinic acid being in the highest content—556.3 mg/100 g DW. From the individual phenolic acids, rosmarinic acid was found in the most significant amounts (2040.1 ± 1.97 mg/100 g) and hesperidin was the major representative of flavonoids with content 131.2 ± 5.6 mg/100 g DW. The antioxidant activity of the plant was studied by six methods: 2,2′-diphenylpicrylhydrazyl (DPPH)—286.4 ± 10.43 mM TE/g, 2,2′azinobis (3)-ethylbenzthiazoline-6-sulfonic acid (ABTS)—358.4 ± 10.4 mM TE/g, ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP)—388.0 ± 32.4 mM TE/g, cupric reducing antioxidant capacity (CUPRAC)—905.6 ± 19.2 mM TE/g, Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC)—3250.5 ± 208.1 µmol TE/g and Hydroxyl Radical Averting Capacity (HORAC)—306.1 ± 23.5 µmol GAE/g. In vitro antimicrobial activity against nine microorganism was evaluated but the extract displayed antimicrobial activity only against Listeria monocytogenes ATCC 19111 with inhibition zone diameter 9 mm and minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) 10 mg/mL. Full article
Article
Simultaneous Quantification of Four Marker Compounds in Bauhinia coccinea Extract and Their Potential Inhibitory Effects on Alzheimer’s Disease Biomarkers
Plants 2021, 10(4), 702; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10040702 - 06 Apr 2021
Viewed by 645
Abstract
Bauhinia coccinea is a tropical woody plant widely distributed in Vietnam and Unnan in southern China. Although many studies have shown the biological activities of extracts from various other species in the genus, no studies have investigated the effects of B. coccinea extracts [...] Read more.
Bauhinia coccinea is a tropical woody plant widely distributed in Vietnam and Unnan in southern China. Although many studies have shown the biological activities of extracts from various other species in the genus, no studies have investigated the effects of B. coccinea extracts on biological systems. In the present study, a quantitative analysis of four marker compounds of ethanol extracts of B. coccinea branches (EEBC) was performed using the high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)-photodiode array (PDA) method. Among gallic acid, (+)-catechin, ellagic acid, and quercitrin contained in EEBC, the most abundant compound was (+)-catechin (18.736 mg/g). In addition, we investigated the EEBC on neuroprotection, antioxidation, and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) marker molecules, acetylcholinesterase (AChE), and amyloid-β (Aβ). EEBC significantly inhibited hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-induced cell death in a HT22 neuronal cell line and increased 2,2′-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) and 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl scavenging activity markedly. EEBC also inhibited AChE and Aβ aggregation. Among the four compounds, gallic acid exhibited strong inhibitory effects against AChE activation. In the Aβ aggregation assay, the four marker compounds exhibited inhibitory effects lower than 30%. According to the results, EEBC could exert anti-AChE activation and Aβ aggregation activities based on the interactive effects of the marker compounds. Our findings suggest that EEBC are sources of therapeutic candidates for application in the development of AD medication based on AChE and Aβ dual targeting. Full article
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Article
Chemical Screening of Metabolites Profile from Romanian Tuber spp.
Plants 2021, 10(3), 540; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10030540 - 12 Mar 2021
Viewed by 657
Abstract
Truffles are the rarest species and appreciated species of edible fungi and are well-known for their distinctive aroma and high nutrient content. However, their chemical composition largely depends on the particularities of their grown environment. Recently, various studies investigate the phytoconstituents content of [...] Read more.
Truffles are the rarest species and appreciated species of edible fungi and are well-known for their distinctive aroma and high nutrient content. However, their chemical composition largely depends on the particularities of their grown environment. Recently, various studies investigate the phytoconstituents content of different species of truffles. However, this research is still very limited for Romanian truffles. This study reports the first complete metabolites profiles identification based on gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and electrospray ionization quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (ESI-QTOF-MS) of two different types of Romania truffles: Tuber magnatum pico and Tuber brumale. In mass spectra (MS) in positive mode, over 100 metabolites were identified from 14 secondary metabolites categories: amino acids, terpenes, alkaloids, flavonoids, organic acids, fatty acids, phenolic acids, sulfur compounds, sterols, hydrocarbons, etc. Additionally, the biological activity of these secondary metabolite classes was discussed. Full article
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Article
Preserving Biodiversity as Source of Health Promoting Compounds: Phenolic Profile and Biological Activity of Four Varieties of Solanum lycopersicum L.
Plants 2021, 10(3), 447; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10030447 - 26 Feb 2021
Viewed by 689
Abstract
Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) is a precious source of specialized metabolites with a great role in human health. Many varieties of tomatoes characterize the south of Italy’s agronomic production and biodiversity, thanks to its warm temperatures and favorable weather. The preservation of [...] Read more.
Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) is a precious source of specialized metabolites with a great role in human health. Many varieties of tomatoes characterize the south of Italy’s agronomic production and biodiversity, thanks to its warm temperatures and favorable weather. The preservation of biodiversity is a major goal of recent years, as each variety shows a peculiar phytochemical profile and provides a wide variety of metabolites with health-beneficial properties. Among the wide range of tomato varieties, literature focused on the most commercially-known types, including San Marzano and Datterino, while this study considered typical South Italy varieties for the first time, as well as Crovarese and Arsicolo. The aim of our work is to enrich the current knowledge about the tomato by evaluating the carotenoid content, the phytochemical profile by HPLC-DAD, and the biological activity of the different parts (peel, fruit, pulp, and seeds) of niche cultivars compared with commercial ones. Radical scavenging activity, assessed by the 2,2-Diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) method, was higher in Crovarese peel extract, while Arsicolo possessed the highest lycopene content, underlying the importance of local ecotypes as a precious source of health promoting compounds. However, out of all of the varieties considered, peel extract was the most active one, opening new insights on their valorization in light of the circular economy. Full article
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Article
Flavan-3-ols and Proanthocyanidins in Japanese, Bohemian and Giant Knotweed
Plants 2021, 10(2), 402; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10020402 - 20 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 788
Abstract
Flavan-3-ols and proanthocyanidins of invasive alien plants Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica Houtt.), giant knotweed (Fallopia sachalinensis F. Schmidt) and Bohemian knotweed (Fallopia × bohemica (Chrtek & Chrtkova) J.P. Bailey) were investigated using high performance thin-layer chromatography (HPTLC) coupled [...] Read more.
Flavan-3-ols and proanthocyanidins of invasive alien plants Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica Houtt.), giant knotweed (Fallopia sachalinensis F. Schmidt) and Bohemian knotweed (Fallopia × bohemica (Chrtek & Chrtkova) J.P. Bailey) were investigated using high performance thin-layer chromatography (HPTLC) coupled to densitometry, image analysis and mass spectrometry (HPTLC–MS/MS). (+)-Catechin, (−)-epicatechin, (−)-epicatechin gallate and procyanidin B2 were found in rhizomes of these three species, and for the first time in Bohemian knotweed. (−)-Epicatechin gallate, procyanidin B1, procyanidin B2 and procyanidin C1 were found in giant knotweed rhizomes for the first time. Rhizomes of Bohemian and giant knotweed have the same chemical profiles of proanthocyanidins with respect to the degree of polymerization and with respect to gallates. Japanese and Bohemian knotweed have equal chromatographic fingerprint profiles with the additional peak not present in giant knotweed. Within the individual species giant knotweed rhizomes and leaves have the most similar fingerprints, while the fingerprints of Japanese and Bohemian knotweed rhizomes have additional peaks not found in leaves. Rhizomes of all three species proved to be a rich source of proanthocyanidins, with the highest content in Japanese and the lowest in Bohemian knotweed (based on the total peak areas). The contents of monomers in Japanese, Bohemian and giant knotweed rhizomes were 2.99 kg/t of dry mass (DM), 1.52 kg/t DM, 2.36 kg/t DM, respectively, while the contents of dimers were 2.81 kg/t DM, 1.09 kg/t DM, 2.17 kg/t DM, respectively. All B-type proanthocyanidins from monomers to decamers (monomers—flavan-3-ols, dimers, trimers, tetramers, pentamers, hexamers, heptamers, octamers, nonamers and decamers) and some of their gallates (monomer gallates, dimer gallates, dimer digallates, trimer gallates, tetramer gallates, pentamer gallates and hexamer gallates) were identified in rhizomes of Bohemian knotweed and giant knotweed. Pentamer gallates, hexamers, hexamer gallates, nonamers and decamers were identified for the first time in this study in Bohemian and giant knotweed rhizomes. Full article
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Communication
Phenolic Acid Derivatives, Flavonoids and Other Bioactive Compounds from the Leaves of Cardiocrinum cordatum (Thunb.) Makino (Liliaceae)
Plants 2021, 10(2), 320; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10020320 - 07 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1120
Abstract
Cardiocrinum cordatum (Thunb.) Makino (Family: Liliaceae), commonly known as ‘Ubayuri’, is native to Japan and some islands in the Russian Far East. It has high value as food, medicinal, and ornamental species. The aim of this study was to isolate and characterize the [...] Read more.
Cardiocrinum cordatum (Thunb.) Makino (Family: Liliaceae), commonly known as ‘Ubayuri’, is native to Japan and some islands in the Russian Far East. It has high value as food, medicinal, and ornamental species. The aim of this study was to isolate and characterize the main chemical constituents of the leaves of C. cordatum. A total of 19 compounds, namely caffeic acid (1), caffeic acid methyl ester (2), caffeic acid β-glucopyranosyl ester (3), caffeic acid 4-O-β-glucopyranoside (4), ferulic acid (5), isoferulic acid (6), protocatechuic acid (7), syringic acid (8), 2,6-dimethoxy-p-hydroquinone 1-O-β-glucopyranoside (9), esculetin (10), taxifolin (11), quercetin 3-O-(6-O-α-rhamnopyranosyl)β-glucopyranoside-7-O-β-rhamnopyranoside (12), 2,7-dimethyl-2,4-diene-deca-α,ω-diacid β-glucopyranoside (13), 4-[formyl-5-(methoxymethyl)-1H-pyrrol-1-yl]butanoic acid (14), (3Z)-3-hexenyl β-glucopyranoside (15), tryptophan (16), adenine (17), adenosine (18), and 2-deoxyadenosine (19) were isolated using various chromatographic methods. The structures of isolated compounds were elucidated on the basis of their NMR spectroscopic data. All these compounds were isolated for the first time from the genus Cardiocrinum. Phenolic acid derivatives and flavonoids can be considered as chemotaxonomic markers in the leaves of Cardiocrinum species. Full article
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Communication
Monoterpenoids from the Fruits of Amomum tsao-ko Have Inhibitory Effects on Nitric Oxide Production
Plants 2021, 10(2), 257; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10020257 - 28 Jan 2021
Viewed by 590
Abstract
In our search for novel plant-derived inhibitors of nitric oxide (NO) with potential for treating inflammatory diseases, the phytochemicals of Amomum tsao-ko fruits were investigated, leading to the isolation of one bicyclic nonane (1), three menthene skeleton monoterpenoids (2 [...] Read more.
In our search for novel plant-derived inhibitors of nitric oxide (NO) with potential for treating inflammatory diseases, the phytochemicals of Amomum tsao-ko fruits were investigated, leading to the isolation of one bicyclic nonane (1), three menthene skeleton monoterpenoids (24), and two acyclic monoterpenoids (5 and 6). Their structures were identified using one- and two-dimensional nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and mass spectrometry. To the best of our knowledge, compounds 25 were obtained from the genus Amomum for the first time. All isolates were tested for their ability to inhibit lipopolysaccharide-stimulated NO overproduction in RAW264.7 cells. Compound 4 was found to inhibit NO production. Western blotting analysis indicated that active compound 4 can regulate inducible NO synthase expression. In addition, lipopolysaccharide-induced interleukin 1 beta and interleukin-6 overproduction was reduced in a concentration-dependent manner. Full article
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Article
Phytochemical Profile and Biological Activities of Crude and Purified Leonurus cardiaca Extracts
Plants 2021, 10(2), 195; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10020195 - 21 Jan 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1315
Abstract
Leonurus cardiaca L. (Lamiaceae) is a perennial herb distributed in Asia and Southeastern Europe and has been used in traditional medicine since antiquity for its role against cardiac and gynecological disorders. The polar extracts obtained from L. cardiaca aerial parts contain several compounds [...] Read more.
Leonurus cardiaca L. (Lamiaceae) is a perennial herb distributed in Asia and Southeastern Europe and has been used in traditional medicine since antiquity for its role against cardiac and gynecological disorders. The polar extracts obtained from L. cardiaca aerial parts contain several compounds among which alkaloids, iridoids, labdane diterpenes, and phenylethanoid glycosides play a major role in conferring protection against the aforementioned diseases. On the other hand, the antioxidant activities and the enzyme inhibitory properties of these extracts have not yet been deeply studied. On the above, in the present study, crude and purified extracts were prepared from the aerial parts of L. cardiaca and have been chemically characterized by spectrophotometric assays and HPLC-DAD-MS analyses. Notably, the content of twelve secondary metabolites, namely phenolic acids (chlorogenic, caffeic, caffeoylmalic and trans-ferulic acids), flavonoids (rutin and quercetin), phenylethanoid glycosides (verbascoside and lavandulifolioside), guanidine pseudoalkaloids (leonurine), iridoids (harpagide), diterpenes (forskolin), and triterpenes (ursolic acid), has been determined. Furthermore, the extracts were tested for their antioxidant capabilities (phosphomolybdenum, DPPH, ABTS, FRAP, CUPRAC, and ferrous chelating assays) and enzyme inhibitory properties against cholinesterase, tyrosinase, amylase, and glucosidase. The purified extracts contained higher phytochemical content than the crude ones, with caffeoylmalic acid and verbascoside as the most abundant compounds. A linear correlation between total phenolics, radical scavenging activity, and reducing power of extracts has been found. Notably, quercetin, caffeic acid, lavandulifolioside, verbascoside, chlorogenic acid, rutin, and ursolic acid influenced the main variations in the bioactivities found in L. cardiaca extracts. Our findings provide further insights into the chemico-biological traits of L. cardiaca and a scientific basis for the development of nutraceuticals and food supplements. Full article
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2020

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Review
Sterols and Triterpenes: Antiviral     Potential Supported by In-Silico Analysis
Plants 2021, 10(1), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10010041 - 26 Dec 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1905
Abstract
The acute respiratory syndrome caused by the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) caused severe panic all over the world. The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has already brought massive human suffering and major economic disruption and unfortunately, there is no specific treatment for COVID-19 so far. Herbal [...] Read more.
The acute respiratory syndrome caused by the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) caused severe panic all over the world. The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has already brought massive human suffering and major economic disruption and unfortunately, there is no specific treatment for COVID-19 so far. Herbal medicines and purified natural products can provide a rich resource for novel antiviral drugs. Therefore, in this review, we focused on the sterols and triterpenes as potential candidates derived from natural sources with well-reported in vitro efficacy against numerous types of viruses. Moreover, we compiled from these reviewed compounds a library of 162 sterols and triterpenes that was subjected to a computer-aided virtual screening against the active sites of the recently reported SARS-CoV-2 protein targets. Interestingly, the results suggested some compounds as potential drug candidates for the development of anti-SARS-CoV-2 therapeutics. Full article
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Article
Phytochemical Profile, Safety Assessment and Wound Healing Activity of Artemisia absinthium L.
Plants 2020, 9(12), 1744; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9121744 - 10 Dec 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 898
Abstract
The aim of study was to validate, by in vitro and in vivo studies, the traditional use for wound-healing activity of Artemisia absinthium L. Reversed-phase liquid chromatography coupled with diode array detection and electrospray ion trap mass spectrometry (RP-LC-DAD-ESI-MS) analysis allowed to identify [...] Read more.
The aim of study was to validate, by in vitro and in vivo studies, the traditional use for wound-healing activity of Artemisia absinthium L. Reversed-phase liquid chromatography coupled with diode array detection and electrospray ion trap mass spectrometry (RP-LC-DAD-ESI-MS) analysis allowed to identify eleven polyphenols with chlorogenic acid as the most abundant compound (3.75 g/100 g of dry extract). After that, antibacterial activity as well as acute dermal and oral toxicity were assessed in animal models. In order to investigate the wound-healing activity of A. absinthium methanol extract, two ointments were formulated (MEO 5% and 10%). The ointment with the highest concentration of plant extract (10%) showed a statistically significant effect on the rats wound contraction, similar to that exerted by the reference drug Cicatryl-Bio. Moreover, A. absinthium methanol extract showed the best antibacterial activity against the Gram-negative Escherichia coli ATCC 10536 (MIC 1.25–2.5 mg/mL) and the Gram-positive Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 6538 (0.31–0.625 mg/mL). The absence of oral and topical toxicity of the treated animals allowed to establish the safety of the ointments. Overall, data collected in the present study support and validate the use of A. absinthium as a wound healing agent in the Algerian traditional medicine. Full article
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Article
Phytochemistry of Verbascum Species Growing in Iraqi Kurdistan and Bioactive Iridoids from the Flowers of Verbascum calvum
Plants 2020, 9(9), 1066; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9091066 - 20 Aug 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2765
Abstract
Traditional medicine is still widely practiced in Iraqi Kurdistan, especially by people living in villages on mountainous regions; medicinal plants are also sold in the markets of the large towns, such as at Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Autonomous Region. About a [...] Read more.
Traditional medicine is still widely practiced in Iraqi Kurdistan, especially by people living in villages on mountainous regions; medicinal plants are also sold in the markets of the large towns, such as at Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Autonomous Region. About a dozen of Verbascum species (Scrophulariaceae) are commonly employed in the Kurdish traditional medicine, especially for treating burns and other skin diseases. However, the isolation of bioactive secondary metabolites from these plants has not been the subject of intense scientific investigations in Iraq. Therefore, the information reported in the literature about the species growing in Kurdistan has been summarized in the first part of this paper, although investigations have been performed on vegetable samples collected in neighbouring countries, such as Turkey and Iran. In the second part of the work, we have investigated, for the first time, the contents of a methanol and a hydromethanol extract of V. calvum flowers. The extracts exhibited weak antimicrobial activities, whereas the methanol extract showed significant antiproliferative effects against an A549 lung cancer cell line. Moreover, both extracts exhibited a significant dose-dependent free radical scavenging action against the 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical, comparable to that of ascorbic acid. In the subsequent phytochemical study, a high phenolic content was determined in both extracts by the Folin–Ciocalteu assay and medium-pressure liquid chromatographic (MPLC) separation led to the isolation of iridoid glucosides ajugol and aucubin from the methanol extract. In conclusion, the high anti-inflammatory effects of aucubin and the remarkable antioxidant (antiradical) properties of the extracts give scientific support to the traditional use of V. calvum flowers for the preparation in Kurdistan of remedies to cure skin burns and inflammations. Full article
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Review
Artemisia absinthium L.—Importance in the History of Medicine, the Latest Advances in Phytochemistry and Therapeutical, Cosmetological and Culinary Uses
Plants 2020, 9(9), 1063; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9091063 - 19 Aug 2020
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3379
Abstract
Artemisia absinthium—wormwood (Asteraceae)—is a very important species in the history of medicine, formerly described in medieval Europe as “the most important master against all exhaustions”. It is a species known as a medicinal plant in Europe and also in West [...] Read more.
Artemisia absinthium—wormwood (Asteraceae)—is a very important species in the history of medicine, formerly described in medieval Europe as “the most important master against all exhaustions”. It is a species known as a medicinal plant in Europe and also in West Asia and North America. The raw material obtained from this species is Absinthii herba and Artemisiae absinthii aetheroleum. The main substances responsible for the biological activity of the herb are: the essential oil, bitter sesquiterpenoid lactones, flavonoids, other bitterness-imparting compounds, azulenes, phenolic acids, tannins and lignans. In the official European medicine, the species is used in both allopathy and homeopathy. In the traditional Asian and European medicine, it has been used as an effective agent in gastrointestinal ailments and also in the treatment of helminthiasis, anaemia, insomnia, bladder diseases, difficult-to-heal wounds, and fever. Today, numerous other directions of biological activity of the components of this species have been demonstrated and confirmed by scientific research, such as antiprotozoal, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-ulcer, hepatoprotective, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, cytotoxic, analgesic, neuroprotective, anti-depressant, procognitive, neurotrophic, and cell membrane stabilizing and antioxidant activities. A. absinthium is also making a successful career as a cosmetic plant. In addition, the importance of this species as a spice plant and valuable additive in the alcohol industry (famous absinthe and vermouth-type wines) has not decreased. The species has also become an object of biotechnological research. Full article
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Article
Comparative and Functional Screening of Three Species Traditionally used as Antidepressants: Valeriana officinalis L., Valeriana jatamansi Jones ex Roxb. and Nardostachys jatamansi (D.Don) DC.
Plants 2020, 9(8), 994; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9080994 - 05 Aug 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2245
Abstract
The essential oils (EOs) of three Caprifoliaceae species, the Eurasiatic Valeriana officinalis (Vo), the Himalayan Valeriana jatamansi (Vj) and Nardostachys jatamansi (Nj), are traditionally used to treat neurological disorders. Roots/rhizomes micromorphology, DNA barcoding and EOs phytochemical characterization were carried out, while biological effects [...] Read more.
The essential oils (EOs) of three Caprifoliaceae species, the Eurasiatic Valeriana officinalis (Vo), the Himalayan Valeriana jatamansi (Vj) and Nardostachys jatamansi (Nj), are traditionally used to treat neurological disorders. Roots/rhizomes micromorphology, DNA barcoding and EOs phytochemical characterization were carried out, while biological effects on the nervous system were assessed by acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitory activity and microelectrode arrays (MEA). Nj showed the highest inhibitory activity on AChE (IC50 67.15 μg/mL) followed by Vo (IC50 127.30 μg/mL) and Vj (IC50 246.84 μg/mL). MEA analyses on rat cortical neurons, carried out by recording mean firing rate (MFR) and mean bursting rate (MBR), revealed stronger inhibition by Nj (IC50 18.8 and 11.1 μg/mL) and Vo (16.5 and 22.5 μg/mL), compared with Vj (68.5 and 89.3 μg/mL). These results could be related to different EO compositions, since sesquiterpenes and monoterpenes significantly contribute to the observed effects, but the presence of oxygenated compounds such as aldehydes and ketones is a discriminating factor in determining the order of potency. Our multidisciplinary approach represents an important tool to avoid the adulteration of herbal drugs and permits the evaluation of the effectiveness of EOs that could be used for a wide range of therapeutic applications. Full article
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Article
Changes in the Content of Some Groups of Phenolic Compounds and Biological Activity of Extracts of Various Parts of Heather (Calluna vulgaris (L.) Hull) at Different Growth Stages
Plants 2020, 9(8), 926; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9080926 - 22 Jul 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1643
Abstract
Heather (Calluna vulgaris (L.) Hull.) is noted for a diverse chemical composition and a broad range of biological activity. The current study was aimed at monitoring changes in the accumulation of certain groups of phenolic compounds in various organs of heather (leaves, [...] Read more.
Heather (Calluna vulgaris (L.) Hull.) is noted for a diverse chemical composition and a broad range of biological activity. The current study was aimed at monitoring changes in the accumulation of certain groups of phenolic compounds in various organs of heather (leaves, stems, roots, rhizomes, flowers, and seeds) at different growth stages (vegetative, floral budding, flowering, and seed ripening) as well as studying antioxidant (employing the DPPH and FRAP assays) and antibacterial activity of its extracts. The highest total amount of phenolic compounds, tannins, flavonoids, hydroxycinnamic acids, and proanthocyanidins was detected in leaves and roots at all growth stages, except for the flowering stage. At the flowering stage, the highest content of some groups of phenolic compounds (flavonoids, proanthocyanidins, and anthocyanins) was observed in flowers. Highest antioxidant activity was recorded for the flower extracts (about 500 mg of ascorbic acid equivalents per gram according to the DPPH assay) and for the leaf extract at the ripening stage (about 350 mg of ascorbic acid equivalents per gram according to the FRAP assay). Strong correlation was noted between antioxidant activity (DPPH) and the content of anthocyanins (r = 0.75, p ≤ 0.01) as well as between antioxidant activity (FRAP) and the total content of phenolic compounds (r = 0.77, p ≤ 0.01). Leaf extracts and stem extracts turned out to perform antibacterial action against both gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria, whereas root extracts appeared to be active only against B. subtilis, and rhizome extracts against E. coli. Full article
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Article
Biodiversity of β-Carboline Profile of Banisteriopsis caapi and Ayahuasca, a Plant and a Brew with Neuropharmacological Potential
Plants 2020, 9(7), 870; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9070870 - 09 Jul 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2911
Abstract
Ayahuasca is a psychoactive infusion with a large pharmacological application normally prepared with Banisteriopsis caapi, which contains the monoamine oxidase inhibitors β-carbolines, and Psichotria virids, which contains the serotonin receptor agonist N,N dimethyltryptamine (DMT). The objectives of this study were to [...] Read more.
Ayahuasca is a psychoactive infusion with a large pharmacological application normally prepared with Banisteriopsis caapi, which contains the monoamine oxidase inhibitors β-carbolines, and Psichotria virids, which contains the serotonin receptor agonist N,N dimethyltryptamine (DMT). The objectives of this study were to investigate the chemical profile of B. caapi and of ayahuasca collected in various Brazilian regions. In total, 176 plant lianas, of which 159 B. caapi and 33 ayahuasca samples were analyzed. Dried liana samples were powdered, extracted with methanol, diluted, and analyzed by LC-MS/MS. Ayahuasca samples were diluted and analyzed. Mean concentrations in B. caapi were 4.79 mg/g harmine, 0.451 mg/g harmaline, and 2.18 mg/g tetrahydroharmine (THH), with a high variability among the samples (RSD from 78.9 to 170%). Native B. caapi samples showed significantly higher harmine concentrations than cultivated ones, and samples from the Federal District/Goiás had higher THH content than those collected in the State of Acre. The other Malpighiaceae samples did not contain β-carbolines, except for one D. pubipetala sample. Concentrations in ayahuasca samples ranged from 0.109 to 7.11 mg/mL harmine, 0.012 to 0.945 mg/mL harmaline, 0.09 to 3.05 mg/mL THH, and 0.10 to 3.12 mg/mL DMT. The analysis of paired ayahuasca/B. caapi confirmed that harmine is reduced to harmaline and to THH during the brew preparation. This is the largest study conducted with Malpighiaceae samples and showed a large variability in the main β-carbolines present in B. caapi. This biodiversity is a challenge for standardization of the material used in ethnopharmacological studies of B. caapi and ayahuasca. Full article
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