Sources for developing new medicinal products: biochemical investigations on alcoholic extracts obtained from aerial parts of some Romanian Amaryllidaceae species


Abstract Background Although Galanthus nivalis L. (snowdrop) is known for the galanthamine content, used in the treatment of Alzheimer disease, the polyphenolic compounds of Amaryllidaceae species are less studied. Proper understanding of the polyphenolics in these extracts and of their antioxidant and antimicrobial properties may allow a reconsideration of their medicinal uses. Methods The polyphenolic content of four selected Amaryllidaceae species harvested from Romania (Galanthus nivalis L., Narcissus pseudonarcissus L., N. poeticus L. and Leucojum vernum L.) was determined by spectrophotometric methods; the identification of phenolic compounds was performed by a HPLC-MS method, in order to establish their polyphenolic fingerprints. For the evaluation of the antioxidant potential the following methods were employed: DPPH radical scavenging, FRAP, hemoglobin ascorbate peroxidase activity inhibition (HAPX), inhibition of lipid peroxidation catalyzed by cytochrome c, and electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy assays. Antimicrobial activity was assessed using the disc diffusion method. Results Qualitative and quantitative analyses highlight important amount of polyphenols (over 15 mg/g); the main identified compounds are chlorogenic and p-coumaric acids in all species. Only G. nivalis shows antioxidant activity by all the used methods. G. nivalis and L. vernum strongly inhibits the growth of S. aureus, while N. poeticus shows a very good antifungal activity. Conclusions The results of this study provide a new approach to the properties and therapeutic uses of some Romanian widespread Amaryllidaceae species that could be considered sources of developing new medicinal products with anti anti-staphylococcal and antifungal activity

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