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.


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