Special Issue "Flavonoids: Secondary Metabolites with Multifunctional Biological Properties"

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747). This special issue belongs to the section "Phytochemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Davide Barreca
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Chemical, Biological, Pharmaceutical and Environmental Sciences, University of Messina, 98168 Messina, Italy
Interests: plant biochemistry; isolation and identification of polyphenols; evaluation of biological potentials of polyphenols on isolate cells in culture; identification of molecular mechanisms of antioxidants action
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Giuseppina Mandalari
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Chemical, Biological, Pharmaceutical and Environmental Science, University of Messina, 98168 Messina, Italy
Interests: antimicrobial activity of flavonoids; nutraceutical properties; in vitro and in vivo digestion and release of flavonoids
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Flavonoids are promising secondary metabolites with several biological properties. The search for molecules which are able to increase organism wellness and to reduce the incidence of chronic diseases is starting to shed light on this class of compounds, along with their low toxicity and side effects. Significant progress has been made over the past few decades as far as the promising properties of flavonoids are concerned, but a lot must still be investigated due to the unquestionable link of these molecules with the well-being of organisms (both the producers and the consumers). There is an abundant class of secondary metabolites present in fruits and vegetables and their agro-industrial transformation products (such as beverages, soft and energy drinks, jams, and so on). These compounds can modulate the intracellular signal cascade and, in addition to their antioxidant activity, they can be utilized to promote cell survival or death with a well-defined target of action. USDA, NIH and several other government and health agencies encourage people to eat a variegated and healthy balanced diet, mainly rich in fruits and vegetables, taking into account the potential health promoting properties of the natural compounds present in these complex matrices. Among these molecules, flavonoids are one of the most interesting and representative molecules, produced by plants to enhance their wellness and to overcome environmental and biological stresses. These molecules, for instance, protect plants against fungi and insects’ infections, or from UV radiation, changes in salinity, or temperature. Taken together, these characteristics make the daily assumptions of vegetables a natural defence weapon to maintain the organisms in a healthy state. Plants are complex matrices of flavonoids, and their synergistic action can further increase their potentiality on living organisms, occasionally with effects which are difficult to obtain with pure compounds. Moreover, they showed inhibitory or stimulatory effects on key metabolic enzymes influencing gene expressions, cellular properties and signaling pathways.  This Special Issue aims to collect the recent update on biological potentials and identify novel compounds belonging to this class of molecules. Therefore, it can be considered a landmark for experts in the field.

Prof. Dr. Davide Barreca
Dr. Giuseppina Mandalari
Guest 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 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. Plants is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly 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 1800 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.


  • flavonoids
  • antioxidants
  • free radicals
  • activation/block of signal cascade
  • antioxidant modulation of key metabolic enzymes
  • oxidative stress
  • hydrogen atom transfer
  • single electron transfer
  • antioxidant assays
  • biological potentials
  • antimicrobial activity
  • antiviral potential
  • environmental and biological stresses
  • protection against fungi and insects infections
  • protection against UV radiation, changes in salinity or temperature
  • anticancer activity antiaggregrative activity
  • anti-inflammatory activity

Published Papers (1 paper)

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High Throughput Profiling of Flavonoid Abundance in Agave lechuguilla Residue-Valorizing under Explored Mexican Plant
Plants 2021, 10(4), 695; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10040695 - 03 Apr 2021
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Agave lechuguilla waste biomass (guishe) is an undervalued abundant plant material with natural active compounds such as flavonoids. Hence, the search and conservation of flavonoids through the different productive areas have to be studied to promote the use of this agro-residue [...] Read more.
Agave lechuguilla waste biomass (guishe) is an undervalued abundant plant material with natural active compounds such as flavonoids. Hence, the search and conservation of flavonoids through the different productive areas have to be studied to promote the use of this agro-residue for industrial purposes. In this work, we compared the proportion of total flavonoid content (TFC) among the total polyphenolics (TPC) and described the variation of specific flavonoid profiles (HPLC-UV-MS/MS) of guishe from three locations. Descriptive environmental analysis, using remote sensing, was used to understand the phytochemical variability among the productive regions. Furthermore, the effect of extractive solvent (ethanol and methanol) and storage conditions on specific flavonoid recovery were evaluated. The highest TPC (16.46 ± 1.09 GAE/g) was observed in the guishe from region 1, which also had a lower normalized difference water index (NDWI) and lower normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI). In contrast, the TFC was similar in the agro-residue from the three studied areas, suggesting that TFC is not affected by the studied environmental features. The highest TFC was found in the ethanolic extracts (6.32 ± 1.66 QE/g) compared to the methanolic extracts (3.81 ± 1.14 QE/g). Additionally, the highest diversity in flavonoids was found in the ethanolic extract of guishe from region 3, which presented an intermedia NDWI and a lower NDVI. Despite the geo-climatic induced variations of the phytochemical profiles, the results confirm that guishe is a valuable raw material in terms of its flavonoid-enriched bioactive extracts. Additionally, the bioactive flavonoids remain stable when the conditioned agro-residue was hermetically stored at room temperature in the dark for nine months. Finally, the results enabled the establishment of both agro-ecological and biotechnological implications. Full article
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