Variation in chemical components and biological activity of Pterocarya fraxinifolia Lam. stems at different developmental stages

Document Type: Original paper


1 Essential Oils Research Institute, University of Kashan, Kashan, Iran.

2 Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, University of Zanjan, Zanjan, Iran.

3 Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.


Background and objectives: Pterocarya fraxinifolia Lam. is a deciduous, fast-growing tree from walnut family. The stem barks and fruits of the plant have been used as diaphoretic in traditional medicine. Variation in the quantity and quality of the essential oil and extract of stems of the plant at different developmental stages was evaluated in addition to assessing the antimicrobial, cytotoxic and radical scavenging activities in the present study. Methods: Different developmental stages of the plant’s stem (i.e. vegetative, flowering, immature fruit and mature fruit) were subjected to hydro-distillation for obtaining the essential oil. The methanol extract of the samples was obtained by Soxhlet apparatus. Chemical composition of the oils was analyzed by gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy (GC/MS). Antimicrobial activity of the oils and extracts were determined against three Gram-positive and five Gram-negative bacteria and two fungi by disc diffusion method. Antioxidant activity of the samples was evaluated by 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) and β-carotene assays. Total phenolics content of extracts was determined using Folin-Ciocalteau reagent and cytotoxic effect was determined by brine shrimp lethality bioassay. Results: Hexadecanoic acid was one of the major components in all essential oil samples. All samples showed good antimicrobial activity against tested strains. Antioxidant activity of the extracts was comparable to the synthetic standard (butylated hydroxytoluene). The highest total phenolic content and cytotoxic effect were detected for the mature fruit stage of the plant extract and essential oil, respectively. Conclusion: Showing considerable antioxidant and cytotoxic effects, suggested the plant as a good candidate for further investigations.


[1] Sadighara P, Ashrafihelan J, Barin A, Esfahani T. Histopathology and cholinergic assessment of Pterocarya fraxinifolia on chicken embryo. Interdiscip Toxicol. 2009; 2(4): 254-256.

[2] Azadbakht M, Marston A, Hostettmann K, Ebrahimi SS. Isolation of two naphthalene derivatives from Pterocarya fraxinifolia leaf and evaluation of their biological activities. Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Natural Products: Natural Products-a Must for Human Survival 2004; Nanjing, China.

[3] Aynehchi Y, Dehpour AR, Mahmoodian M. Juglone: the echtiotoxic principle of Pterocarya fraxinifolia. Phytochemistry. 1973; 12(12): 3001-3002.

[4] Hadjmohammadi M, Kamel K. Determination of juglone (5-hydroxy 1, 4-naphthoquinone) in Pterocarya fraxinifolia by RP-HPLC.Iran J Chem. 2006; 25(4): 73-76.

[5] Ebrahimzadeh M, Pourmorad F, Bekhradnia A. Iron chelating activity, phenol and flavonoid content of some medicinal plants from Iran.Afr J Biotechnol. 2010; 7(18): 3188-3192.

[6] Ebrahimzadeh MA, Nabavi SF, Nabavi SM. Essential oil composition and antioxidant activity of Pterocarya fraxinifolia.Pak J Biol Sci. 2009; 12(13): 957-963.

[7] Nabavi SM, Ebrahimzadeh MA, Nabavi SF. Antioxidant and free radical scavenging activity of methanolic extract of Pterocarya fraxinifolia (Lam.) Spach leaves and bark. Iran J Med Arom Plants. 2008; 24(3): 374-384.

[8] Akhbari M, Tavakoli S, Delnavazi MR. Volatile fraction composition and biological activities of the leaves, bark and fruits of Caucasian wingnut from Iran. J Essent Oil Res. 2014; 26(1): 58-64.

[9] Gungor N, Kartal S, Kantay R. Technological properties of wingnut Pterocarya fraxinifolia (LAM.) Spach. wood and characteristics of plywood from wingnut wood. Build Environ. 2007; 42(8): 3108-3111.

[10] Meurer B, Wray V, Wiermann R, Strack D. Hydroxycinnamic acid-spermidine a mides from pollen of Alnus glutinosa, Betula verrucosa and Pterocarya fraxinifolia. Phytochemistry. 1988; 27(3): 839-843.

[11] Burt S. Essential oils: their antibacterial properties and potential application in foods-a review. Int J Food Microbiol. 2004; 94(3): 223-253.

[12] Ebrahimi SN, Hadian J, Mirjalili MH, Sonboli A, Yousefzadi M. Essential oil composition and antibacterial activity of Thymus caramanicus at different phonological stages. Food Chem. 2008; 110(4): 927-931.

[13] Farhat MB, Jordán J, Chaouech-Hamada R, Landoulsi A, Sotomayor JA. Variations in essential oils, phenolic compounds, and antioxidant activity of tunisian cultivated Salvia officinalis L. J Agr Food Chem. 2009; 57(21): 10349-10356.

[14] Hussain AI, Anwar F, Hussain Sherazi ST, Przybylski R. Chemical composition antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of basil (Ocimum basilicum) essential oils depends on seasonal variation. Food Chem. 2008; 108(3): 986-995.

[15] Mirjalili MH. Phenological variation of the essential oil of Artemisia scoparia Waldst. Et Kit from Iran. J Essent Oil Res. 2007; 19(4): 326-329.

[16] Wu Z, Li H, Yang Y, Zhan Y, Tu D. Variation in the components and antioxidant activity of Citrus medica L. var. sarcodactylis essential oils at different stages of maturity. Ind Crop Prod. 2013; 46: 311-316.

[17] Mirjalili MH, Salehi P, Sonboli A, Mohammadi Vala M. Essential oil variation of Salvia officinalis aerial parts during its phonological cycle. Chem Nat Compd. 2006;42(1): 19-23.

[18] Schowob I, Bessiere JM, Masotti V, Viano J. Changes in essential oil composition in Saint Johns wort (Hypersicum perforatum L.) aerial parts during its phonological cycle. Biochem Syst Ecol. 2004; 32(8): 735-745.

[19] Adams R. Identification of essential oil components by gas chromatography mass spectroscopy. Chicago: Allures Publication, 2001.

[20] Ghannadi A, Mehregan I.  Essential oil of one of the Iranian skullcaps.Z Naturforsch c. 2003; 58(5/6):316-318.

[21] Sandra P, Bicchi C. Capillary gas chromatography in essential oil analysis. Heidelberg: Alfred Heuthig Verlag, 1987.

[22] Clinical & Laboratory Standards Institute. Performance standards for antimicrobial disk susceptibility test, sixth ed. Approved standard. M2-A6. Wayne: CLSI, 1997.

[23] Akhbari M, Batooli H, Mozdianfard M. Comparative study of composition and biological activities of SDE prepared essential oils from flowers and fruits of two Hypericum species from central Iran. Nat Prod Res. 2012; 26(3): 193-202.

[24] Aruoma OI. Methodological considerations for characterizing potential antioxidant actions of bioactive components in plant foods. Mutat Res. 2003; 523-524: 9-20.

[25] Vazirian M, Dianat S, Manayi A, Ziari R, Mousazadeh A, Habibi E, Saeidnia S, Amanzadeh Y. Anti-inflammatory effect, total polysaccharide, total phenolics content and antioxidant activity of the aqueous extract of three basidiomycetes. Res J Pharmacogn. 2014; 1(1): 15-21.

[26] Huang D, Ou B, Ronald L. The chemistry behind antioxidant capacity assays.J Agric Food Chem. 2005; 53(6): 1841-1856.

[27] Sarma B, Pandey V, Mishra G, Singh U. Antifungal activity of berberine iodide, a constituent of Fumaria indica. Folia Morphol. 1999; 44(2): 164-166.

[28] Agoramoorthy G, Chandrasekaran M, Venkatesalu V, Hsu M. Antibacterial and antifungal activities of fatty acid methyl esters of the blind-your-eye mangrove from India. Braz J Microbiol. 2007; 38(4): 739-742.

[29] Sienkiewicz M, Denys P, Kowalczyk E. Antibacterial and immunostimulatory effect of essential oils. IntRevAllergolClin Immunol. 2011; 17(1): 40-44.

[30] Matasyoh JC, Kiplimo JJ, Karubiu NM, Hailstorks TP. Chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of the essential oil of Satureja biflora (Lamiaceae). B Chem Soc Ethiopia. 2007; 21(2): 249-254.

[31] Krist S, Banovac D, Tabanca N, Wedge DE, Gochev VK, Wanner J, Schmidt E, Jirovetz L. Antimicrobial activity of nerolidol and its derivatives against airborne microbes and further biological activities. Nat Prod Commun. 2015; 10(1): 143-148.

[32] Mclaughlin J, Chang CJ, Smith D. Bench-top bioassays for the discovery of bioactive natural products: an update.Stud Nat Prod Chem. 1991; 9: 383-409.