Chemical Composition and Biological Evaluation of Natural Products with Antioxidant Properties

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Food Science and Technology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 October 2023) | Viewed by 27823

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Guest Editor
Department of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences, University of Padova, Via Francesco Marzolo, 5, 35131 Padova, Italy
Interests: phytochemicals; chromatography; natural product chemistry; metabolomics; polyphenols; gut microbiota
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Oxidative stress is recognized as a significant contributor for the development of several diseases. The term ‘oxidative stress’, as described by Helmut Sies, refers to an imbalance between production of pro-oxidants and antioxidant defenses that may result in damage to biological systems. Several synthetic and natural compounds have been evaluated for their potential to counteract the deleterious effect of oxidants on biological systems, by either acting directly against these reactive species or by inducing endogenous antioxidant defenses. Among these, the infamous quercetin and resveratrol are currently on phases III and IV of clinical trials, respectively. Nevertheless, many other candidates have been evaluated for their ability to reduce oxidative stress in cellular and animal models, but their applicability to humans is usually hampered by poor pharmacokinetics profiles or by issues regarding assessing their efficacy.

Oxidative stress is also an important cause of food degradation. Food oxidation can lead to organoleptic changes and to the production of potentially toxic chemical compounds. To counteract oxidative degradation, synthetic antioxidants are widely used on the basis of their stability, low cost, and high availability, but recently, concerns have been raised by consumers due to their potential toxicity. For this reason, the use of natural scavengers, generally considered to be safer alternatives, is increasing, as is the quest for novel useful candidates.

In light of these considerations, the aim of this Special Issue is to promote research works focused on the characterization of antioxidants from natural sources. All research articles and reviews dealing with extraction, characterization, isolation, and purification, but also the synthesis of natural and nature-derived compounds and their biological evaluations in vitro and in vivo will be considered. Particularly welcome are results dealing with the application of novel natural antioxidants in the maintenance of human well-being, in the prevention of diseases, and in food preservation.

Dr. Gregorio Peron
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • antioxidants
  • natural compounds
  • phytochemicals
  • secondary metabolites
  • medicinal plants
  • edible plants
  • oxidative stress
  • prevention
  • food technology
  • food chemistry
  • food preservatives
  • chromatography
  • NMR
  • mass spectrometry

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Editorial

Jump to: Research, Review

3 pages, 194 KiB  
Editorial
Chemical Composition and Biological Evaluation of Natural Products with Antioxidant Properties
by Gregorio Peron
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(24), 13234; https://doi.org/10.3390/app132413234 - 14 Dec 2023
Viewed by 588
Abstract
An abnormal oxidative status is linked to the development of several diseases [...] Full article

Research

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16 pages, 2124 KiB  
Article
Detection of Secondary Metabolites, Proximate Composition and Bioactivity of Organic Dried Spirulina (Arthrospira platensis)
by Cosimo Taiti, Maura Di Vito, Mattia Di Mercurio, Lara Costantini, Nicolò Merendino, Maurizio Sanguinetti, Francesca Bugli and Stefania Garzoli
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(1), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14010067 (registering DOI) - 20 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 809
Abstract
In this work, Arthrospira platensis grown in Tuscany, Italy, was investigated using different analytical approaches to characterize its volatile and non-volatile chemical composition. The results showed the presence of a high number of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as hydrocarbons, furans, sulfides, alkanes, [...] Read more.
In this work, Arthrospira platensis grown in Tuscany, Italy, was investigated using different analytical approaches to characterize its volatile and non-volatile chemical composition. The results showed the presence of a high number of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as hydrocarbons, furans, sulfides, alkanes, aldehydes, alcohols, ketones, esters and compounds belonging to other chemical classes such as fatty acids, alcohols and sugars. Furthermore, a proximal composition analysis was also performed to determine the protein, fat, carbohydrate and ash content. Total antioxidant capacity (TAC) determined by FRAP and ABTS•+ methods (5.96 mmol TE/g DW; 5.28 mmol Fe2+E/g DW, respectively), showed good reducing power and comparable free radical scavenging activity. The antibacterial power of spirulina-based alcoholic macerate (AM) was also evaluated against Staphylococcus aureus (ATCC 29213), Escherichia coli (ATCC 25922), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (ATCC 060127853), Enterococcus faecalis (ATCC 29211), Klebsiella pneumoniae (ATCC 700603) and Candida albicans (ATCC 24433) and the obtained data have shown that it had no effect against pathogenic bacterial strains. On the contrary, at low concentrations, AM exerted a prebiotic effect on some probiotic strains such as L. casei if treated with AM concentrations ranging from 1.56% v/v and 3.12% v/v and L. rhamnosus if treated with AM concentrations lower than 0.78% v/v. In conclusion, this study highlighted how spirulina, based on the rich composition and its antioxidant and prebiotic effect, can represent a source of beneficial substances for human health. Full article
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13 pages, 3486 KiB  
Article
Characterization of Polyphenols and Volatile Compounds from Understudied Algerian Pallenis spinosa by HS-SPME-GC-MS, NMR and HPLC-MSn Approaches
by Nabila Adoui, Nabila Souilah, Hamdi Bendif, Stefania Sut, Stefano Dall’Acqua, Guido Flamini, Filippo Maggi and Gregorio Peron
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(18), 10113; https://doi.org/10.3390/app131810113 - 08 Sep 2023
Viewed by 709
Abstract
Pallenis spinosa (L.) Cass. is a widespread plant in the Mediterranean region. Traditionally, it is used as a medicinal species to treat several ailments, from inflammation to skin injuries. Although the phytochemical content of this plant has already been investigated, there is currently [...] Read more.
Pallenis spinosa (L.) Cass. is a widespread plant in the Mediterranean region. Traditionally, it is used as a medicinal species to treat several ailments, from inflammation to skin injuries. Although the phytochemical content of this plant has already been investigated, there is currently limited data on Algerian P. spinosa. In this work, we focused on volatile compounds and non-volatile secondary metabolites extracted using HS-SPME and methanol from the aerial parts of P. spinosa collected from Northeast Algeria. Volatile constituents were analyzed by GC-MS, while non-volatile compounds were analyzed by NMR and HPLC-MSn. In total, 48 volatile compounds were identified, including sesquiterpene hydrocarbons (65.8%), monoterpene hydrocarbons (16.9%), and oxygenated monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes (8.3% and 6.5%, respectively). β-Chamigrene (16.2%), α-selinene (12.8%), β-pinene (10.6%), and β-caryophyllene (9.2%) were assessed as the main constituents. Concerning non-volatile metabolites, 23 polyphenols were identified (7.26 mg/g DW), and phenolic acids were predominant (5.83 mg/g DW). Tricaffeoylhexaric acid (1.76 mg/g DW), tetracaffeoylhexaric acid (1.41 mg/g DW), 3,5-dicaffeoylquinic acid (1.04 mg/g DW), caffeoyl dihexoside (0.35 mg/g DW), and chlorogenic acid (0.29 mg/g DW) were the most abundant ones. Several known flavonoids, such as tricin and patuletin glycosides, kaempferol, and apigenin, were also identified, and myricetin hexoside was detected in P. spinosa for the first time. Overall, our work is the first to report an exhaustive characterization of volatile and non-volatile secondary metabolites from Algerian P. spinosa. The results represent a step forward in revealing the chemistry of this widespread plant species. Furthermore, they may contribute to rationalizing its traditional medicinal applications and preserve the biodiversity of Algerian flora. Full article
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12 pages, 1376 KiB  
Article
Anthocyanins and Total Phenolic Compounds from Pigment Extractions of Non-Native Species from the Umia River Basin: Eucalyptus globulus, Tradescantia fluminensis, and Arundo donax
by Antía Iglesias, Ángeles Cancela, Xana Álvarez and Ángel Sánchez
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(10), 5909; https://doi.org/10.3390/app13105909 - 11 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1341
Abstract
Alien invasive species (AIS) and non-native species are a prominent and extended problem in a wide range of areas in Europe and around the world. Centered in the Umia’s riparian forest, in Galicia, we found at least three main AIS needing to be [...] Read more.
Alien invasive species (AIS) and non-native species are a prominent and extended problem in a wide range of areas in Europe and around the world. Centered in the Umia’s riparian forest, in Galicia, we found at least three main AIS needing to be controlled and harvested to preserve the biodiversity of the area. Previous studies probed that leaves and bark of selected species—Tradescantia fluminensis, Arundo donax, and Eucalyptus globulus—have important antioxidant properties, suitable for use in pharmaceutical and industrial contexts. A comparison of four solid-liquid extraction methods—Soxhlet extraction, ultrasound assisted extraction, thermal agitator, and infusion—was conducted in order to define the most efficient method in correlation within antioxidant (anthocyanins and total phenols) extraction. Water was selected as solvent, providing a sustainable research background without implying any chemical additives. The best extraction yields were obtained with Soxhlet extraction for all raw matter, with best results for Tradescantia fluminensis (41.89%) and Eucalyptus globulus leaves (39.35%); followed by the ultrasonic assisted extraction method, with better yield performed with Eucalyptus leaves (27.07%). On the contrary, Tradescantia fluminensis showed better efficiency with thermal agitator (35.07% compared to 23.19% from ultrasound extraction). After extractions, identification and quantification of total phenolic compounds and anthocyanins were carried out using spectrophotometric determination and acid hydrolysis in butanol method. In general, the best extraction yield in correlation with higher antioxidant content was performed by thermal agitator method, and Eucalyptus globulus leaves were demonstrated to be the better anthocyanins (6.18 ± 0.82 mg CC/g) and total phenols containers (172.40 ± 44.53 mg GAE/g). Studies provided promising possibilities for the residues of the three non-native species analyzed, as a source of antioxidants, favoring circular economy systems, as well as taking care of biodiversity in affected environments. Full article
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15 pages, 2288 KiB  
Article
Calamintha incana (Sm.) Helder: A New Phytoextract with In Vitro Antioxidant and Antidiabetic Action
by Arwa R. Althaher and Andrea Mastinu
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(6), 3966; https://doi.org/10.3390/app13063966 - 21 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1531
Abstract
This study aimed to assess the antioxidant and antidiabetic properties of ethanolic phytoextracts of Calamintha incana (Sm.) Helder leaves. Initially, the chemical characterization of the phytocomplex was performed using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)/mass spectrometry (MS). The cytotoxicity of the ethanolic extract was assessed [...] Read more.
This study aimed to assess the antioxidant and antidiabetic properties of ethanolic phytoextracts of Calamintha incana (Sm.) Helder leaves. Initially, the chemical characterization of the phytocomplex was performed using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)/mass spectrometry (MS). The cytotoxicity of the ethanolic extract was assessed using an MTT assay in HepG2 cells. Subsequently, antioxidant activity was evaluated using a DPPH test. Finally, enzymatic tests with α-amylase, α-glucosidase, pancreatic lipase, and dipeptidyl peptidase IV (DPP-IV) were performed to evaluate their effects on glucose metabolism. The chemical composition of the extract is p-linolenic acid (13.2%), myristic acid (12.1%), and p-cymene (10.5%). The extract demonstrated low toxicity, with none of the tested concentrations inducing 50% cell death. Furthermore, the ethanolic extract revealed potent antioxidant activity using DPPH (IC50 was 35.9 ± 0.7 µg/mL) and reducing power capacity (IC50 was 90.3 ± 0.8 µg/mL). Regarding the antidiabetic activity, the extract caused a significant inhibition of α-amylase, α-glucosidase (IC50 46.3 ± 0.2, 56.8 ± 0.1 μg/mL, respectively), weak inhibition of pancreatic lipase and no notable inhibition of dipeptidyl peptidase IV. In conclusion, C. incana has antioxidant and antidiabetic properties and appears to exert insulin-independent hypoglycemic action. Full article
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9 pages, 1049 KiB  
Communication
Chemical Composition and Antioxidant Activity of Essential Oil from the Aerial Parts of Teucrium luteum (Mill.) Degen subsp. flavovirens (Batt.) Greuter & Burdet Growing Wild in Tunisia
by Siwar Majdoub, Stefano Dall’Acqua, Ridha El Mokni, Saoussen Hammami and Gregorio Peron
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(15), 7370; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12157370 - 22 Jul 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1296
Abstract
Essential oils (EOs), the odorous and volatile products of a plant’s secondary metabolism, have wide applications in folk medicine, in food flavoring and preservation, and in fragrance industries. The aim of this study was to analyze the chemical composition of the EO from [...] Read more.
Essential oils (EOs), the odorous and volatile products of a plant’s secondary metabolism, have wide applications in folk medicine, in food flavoring and preservation, and in fragrance industries. The aim of this study was to analyze the chemical composition of the EO from the aerial parts (including the inflorescences) of wild Teucrium luteum subsp. flavovirens from Tunisia. The EO obtained by the hydrodistillation of air-dried plant material in a Clevenger-type apparatus was analyzed using gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Fifty-three components representing 83.9% of the total constituents were identified. The EO of T. luteum subsp. flavovirens is characterized by the presence of β-elemol (7.2%), (+)-α-pinene (6%), β-eudesmol (5.5%), guaiol (4.2%), α-bisabolol (4.2%), and β-caryophyllene (4.1%) as principal chemical components. In vitro (DPPH and β-carotene bleaching assays), it showed significantly higher radical scavenging and antioxidant properties than the reference compound, BHT. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report describing the composition and antioxidant properties of the EO from Tunisian T. luteum subsp. flavovirens. Our preliminary data will help to valorize this potentially useful plant species from Tunisia and represent a starting point for further studies on its volatile fraction. Full article
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14 pages, 2480 KiB  
Article
Sasa borealis Ethanol Extract Protects PC12 Neuronal Cells against Oxidative Stress
by Min Hye Kang, Yun-Jeong Ji, Yu Mi Han, Gwi Yeong Jang, Dong Hwi Kim, Jeong Hoon Lee, Geum-Soog Kim, Su Ji Choi and Hyung Don Kim
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(12), 6155; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12126155 - 17 Jun 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1292
Abstract
The overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) can cause oxidative stress to biomolecules such as nucleic acids, proteins, and lipids, leading to neurodegenerative disorders. Sasa borealis (SB) has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, and anti-obesity effects. We evaluated the neuroprotective activity of SB on hydrogen [...] Read more.
The overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) can cause oxidative stress to biomolecules such as nucleic acids, proteins, and lipids, leading to neurodegenerative disorders. Sasa borealis (SB) has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, and anti-obesity effects. We evaluated the neuroprotective activity of SB on hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-induced oxidative stress. We investigated the antioxidant and neuroprotective effects of SB water extract (SBW) and SB ethanol extract (SBE) by measuring the radical scavenging activities and intracellular ROS production. SBE, which had a high level of isoorientin, had higher antioxidative activities than SBW in 2,2′-azino-bis-(3-ethylbenzothiazolin-6-sulfonic acid) diammonium salt (ABTS+) and 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) assays. It also reduced ROS generation in pheochromocytoma 12 (PC12) cells more significantly than SBW. It increased the translation of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2), catalase (CAT), and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) with a corresponding increase in the translation of NF-E2-related factor-2 (Nrf-2). In conclusion, SBE with high levels of phenolic compounds such as isoorientin shows promise for preventing neurodegenerative diseases. Full article
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Review

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14 pages, 733 KiB  
Review
The Potential for the Implementation of Pea Flower (Clitoria ternatea) Health Properties in Food Matrix
by Shwetali Mahesh Shirodkar, Ribi Ramadanti Multisona and Anna Gramza-Michalowska
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(12), 7141; https://doi.org/10.3390/app13127141 - 14 Jun 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 5513
Abstract
Clitoria ternatea is a revered flower and plant in botanical science. While its health benefits are only recently gaining popularity, the plant itself has been the recipient of many traditional and indigenous medicines, including that of Ayurvedic medicine in South Asia. The peculiar [...] Read more.
Clitoria ternatea is a revered flower and plant in botanical science. While its health benefits are only recently gaining popularity, the plant itself has been the recipient of many traditional and indigenous medicines, including that of Ayurvedic medicine in South Asia. The peculiar property of this flower is its ability to change color depending on its pH. This review article encompasses the literature surrounding this plant and its valuable flower and attempts to cover all aspects of its benefits in the food matrix, including its existing applications. It also aims to look at the flower from a holistic perspective and imagine it as a source of future food. Full article
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16 pages, 990 KiB  
Review
Plant Extracellular Vesicles: Investigating Their Utilization as Beneficial Nutrients in Diet
by Simona Di Giulio, Elisabetta Carata, Stefania Mariano and Elisa Panzarini
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(11), 6656; https://doi.org/10.3390/app13116656 - 30 May 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1471
Abstract
Plant-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs) isolated from seeds, leaves, and fruits have shown a significant therapeutic potential for their anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. The ability to transport bioactive molecules and the low toxicity give EVs remarkable versatility in the field of nanomedicine for [...] Read more.
Plant-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs) isolated from seeds, leaves, and fruits have shown a significant therapeutic potential for their anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. The ability to transport bioactive molecules and the low toxicity give EVs remarkable versatility in the field of nanomedicine for the development of drug delivery systems. Moreover, the physicochemical stability in gastric and intestinal fluids makes them the ideal candidate as nutritional carriers in oral formulations. It is well known that the consumption of antioxidant molecules from dietary plant sources, such as fruits and vegetables, can prevent pathologies caused by oxidative damage, including inflammatory and cardiovascular disease, neurodegeneration, aging, and cancer. EVs present in plant juices are receiving a lot of interest concerning their biological relevance in terms of their health benefits. EVs from food might be new components participating in body homeostasis, as they are in contact with the intestinal tract. This review aims to report and discuss the main biological properties and nutraceutical use of plant-derived EVs as promising therapeutic tools, with a focus on anti-oxidant effect and as a basis in developing new food-derived technology. Full article
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23 pages, 1209 KiB  
Review
Antioxidant Activity of Panax ginseng to Regulate ROS in Various Chronic Diseases
by Md Niaj Morshed, Jong Chan Ahn, Ramya Mathiyalagan, Esrat Jahan Rupa, Reshmi Akter, Md. Rezaul Karim, Dae Hyo Jung, Dong Uk Yang, Deok Chun Yang and Seok Kyu Jung
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(5), 2893; https://doi.org/10.3390/app13052893 - 23 Feb 2023
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2827
Abstract
Reactive oxygen species (ROS)-the byproduct of regular cell activity formed by various cellular components—play a significant role in pathological and physiological conditions. Alternatively, antioxidants are compounds that reduce or scavenge reactive species in cells. An asymmetry between the antioxidant defense system and ROS [...] Read more.
Reactive oxygen species (ROS)-the byproduct of regular cell activity formed by various cellular components—play a significant role in pathological and physiological conditions. Alternatively, antioxidants are compounds that reduce or scavenge reactive species in cells. An asymmetry between the antioxidant defense system and ROS from intracellular and extracellular sources cause chronic diseases such as cancer, inflammation, tumorigenesis, cardiovascular and neurogenerative diseases. However, Panax ginseng and its secondary metabolites (known as ginsenosides, phenolic compounds, peptides, acid polysaccharides, polyacetylene, and alkaloids) are well-recognized as antioxidants in many in vitro and in vivo experiments which show beneficial activity in regulating ROS in these diseases. There are extensive evidences that P. ginseng can destroy cancer cells specifically by increasing oxidative stress through ROS generation without significantly harming normal cells. Additionally, numerous studies have examined the antioxidant activity of ginseng and its derivatives on ROS-mediated signaling pathways which are discussed herein. This review summarizes the potential antioxidant activity of P. ginseng in several chronic diseases, and gives updated research evidence with related mechanisms and the future possibilities of nano-formulated compounds of P. ginseng and other polyphenols. Full article
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24 pages, 1616 KiB  
Review
Clitoria ternatea Flower and Its Bioactive Compounds: Potential Use as Microencapsulated Ingredient for Functional Foods
by Ribi Ramadanti Multisona, Shwetali Shirodkar, Marcellus Arnold and Anna Gramza-Michalowska
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(4), 2134; https://doi.org/10.3390/app13042134 - 07 Feb 2023
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 9330
Abstract
Due to the beneficial health effects of polyphenolics and their limited stability during inadequate processing conditions, there is an increasing interest in their microencapsulation in order to improve the stability. As previous publications do not include a substantive review focusing on these topics, [...] Read more.
Due to the beneficial health effects of polyphenolics and their limited stability during inadequate processing conditions, there is an increasing interest in their microencapsulation in order to improve the stability. As previous publications do not include a substantive review focusing on these topics, in the present work, we focused on recent reports on the topic of Clitoria ternatea flower bioactive components and the conditions under which they are microencapsulated for subsequent use in food and nutraceuticals. Our findings highlighted the importance of optimizing the variables of the microencapsulation process for optimal application. Full article
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