Biological Activity, Chemical Characterization and Contaminants of Plants and Waste

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 August 2024 | Viewed by 7398

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Characterization, Quality and Safety Department, Institute of Food Science, Technology and Nutrition, ICTAN-CSIC, José Antonio Novais 6, 28040 Madrid, Spain
Interests: food science; Maillard reaction; food safety; thermal food processing; chemical contaminants
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Centro de Investigação de Montanha (CIMO), Instituto Politécnico de Bragança, Campus de Santa Apolónia, 5300-253 Bragança, Portugal
Interests: characterization chemical; bioactivities; toxicology; natural products; proteomics; biotechnoology; foods
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue welcomes scientific contributions, including research papers, short communications, and review articles, focusing on recent advances in the chemical features of naturally derived compounds from plants and waste materials. The scope of the Special Issue includes topics such as extraction, separation, and isolation techniques for these compounds, as well as their biological activities and associated health benefits. We encourage authors to explore the potential applications of these compounds in various fields, including medicine, agriculture, and environmental science, and to highlight sustainable and eco-friendly approaches. We invite researchers to contribute their latest findings and insights into this important and growing field of study.

  • Plants and waste materials are abundant sources of bioactive compounds that have been used for centuries for their medicinal properties. With the advancement of scientific techniques, researchers can now identify and isolate these compounds with greater accuracy and efficiency.
  • The chemical characterization of these compounds can provide valuable information on their structure, properties, and potential uses. This includes studies on their molecular weight, polarity, and spectroscopic properties, among others.
  • Recent research has highlighted the potential health benefits of naturally derived compounds, including their anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties. Some of these compounds have shown promise in the treatment of certain diseases, including cancer, Alzheimer's, and diabetes.
  • The sustainable use of plants and waste materials as sources of bioactive compounds is an important area of research. By identifying and utilizing these resources, researchers can reduce reliance on synthetic chemicals and promote a more eco-friendly approach to medicine and agriculture.

In summary, this Special Issue provides an opportunity for researchers to share their latest findings regarding the biological activity and chemical characterization of plants and waste materials. We encourage contributions that highlight innovative approaches to sustainable and eco-friendly research, as well as studies that demonstrate the potential applications of naturally derived compounds in various fields.

Dr. Marta Mesías
Dr. Tiane Finimundy
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • biological activity
  • chemical contaminants
  • chemical characterization
  • plants
  • waste
  • subproducts

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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16 pages, 1557 KiB  
Article
Quantitative and Qualitative Determination of Polyphenolic Compounds in Castanea sativa Leaves and Evaluation of Their Biological Activities
by Natalia Żurek, Agata Maria Pawłowska, Karolina Pycia, Leszek Potocki and Ireneusz Tomasz Kapusta
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(9), 3859; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14093859 - 30 Apr 2024
Viewed by 413
Abstract
The aim of the study was to evaluate the polyphenol profile of Castanea sativa leaf methanolic extract and further evaluate its biological activities in vitro. After purification with an RP-18 resin, the extract was assessed for its polyphenol profile by UPLC-PDA-MS/MS, as well [...] Read more.
The aim of the study was to evaluate the polyphenol profile of Castanea sativa leaf methanolic extract and further evaluate its biological activities in vitro. After purification with an RP-18 resin, the extract was assessed for its polyphenol profile by UPLC-PDA-MS/MS, as well as for the antioxidant potential (ABTS, CUPRAC, ChA, ROS scavenging methods), anticancer, antiobesity, antidiabetic and antimicrobial potential. Eighteen polyphenols were identified and the dominant compounds were chestatin followed by quercetin 3-O-glucoside. The total phenolic content of the extract showed a value of 1426.55 mg/100 g d.w. The obtained preparation showed the ability to scavenge O2•− (0.067 mg/mL) and OH (0.207 mg/mL) radicals and had a stronger anti-obesity than anti-diabetic effect. Additionally, this extract exhibited a strong anticancer activity against the Caco-2 line (153.54 µg/mL), with anti-migratory and anti-proliferative activity. In turn, among the tested strains, the highest activity was demonstrated against Staphylococcus aureus. Moreover, the effects demonstrated were strongly dependent on the content of polyphenols. In conclusion, C. sativa is a promising source of natural antioxidant, antibacterial, antiobesity, antidiabetic and chemopreventive compounds for food-pharma industry; however, further experimental studies are needed to validate its pharmacological properties. Full article
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15 pages, 6030 KiB  
Article
A Year in the Life of Sea Fennel: Annual Phytochemical Variations of Major Bioactive Secondary Metabolites
by Marijana Popović, Sanja Radman, Ivana Generalić Mekinić, Tonka Ninčević Runjić, Branimir Urlić and Maja Veršić Bratinčević
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(8), 3440; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14083440 - 18 Apr 2024
Viewed by 541
Abstract
Sea fennel (Crithmum maritimum L.) is one of the most abundant and widespread Mediterranean halophytes, traditionally harvested and used in the summer months. As the plant bioactive metabolites are strongly influenced by the plant vegetation period and environmental conditions, we investigated some [...] Read more.
Sea fennel (Crithmum maritimum L.) is one of the most abundant and widespread Mediterranean halophytes, traditionally harvested and used in the summer months. As the plant bioactive metabolites are strongly influenced by the plant vegetation period and environmental conditions, we investigated some of the main bioactive compounds from sea fennel leaves over a one-year period to gain a deeper insight into their annual changes. A comprehensive phytochemical analysis of the essential oils using GC-MS, as well as the major phenolic and carotenoid compounds using HPLC, was performed. The results showed a high positive correlation between temperature and all major bioactive compounds, especially phenolic acids, cryptochlorogenic acid, and chlorogenic acid (r = 0.887, p = 0.0001 and r = 0.794, p = 0.002, respectively), as well as the limonene content in the essential oil (r = 0.694, p = 0.012). PCA analysis clearly distinguishes the period from February to April from the rest of the year, which contained the least bioactive metabolites overall. The overall data analyzed show great variations in sea fennel phytochemicals during the period of a year, with β-carotene content being the least effected. Therefore, it can be concluded that the plant can be used as a functional food or in other industries, such as the cosmetic and/or pharmaceutic industries, beyond its typical harvest period (early to midsummer). Full article
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27 pages, 1980 KiB  
Article
Apple Tree Leaves (Malus domestica Borkh) as a Valuable Source of Polyphenolic Compounds with a High Antioxidant Capacity
by Andrzej Cendrowski, Zuzanna Jakubowska and Jarosław L. Przybył
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(8), 3252; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14083252 - 12 Apr 2024
Viewed by 476
Abstract
The aim of the study was to compare the antioxidant activity and polyphenol content in extracts prepared from freeze-dried leaves of three apple cultivars: Ligol, Gala, and Gloster, using different solvents and extraction methods. The content of total polyphenols was determined using the [...] Read more.
The aim of the study was to compare the antioxidant activity and polyphenol content in extracts prepared from freeze-dried leaves of three apple cultivars: Ligol, Gala, and Gloster, using different solvents and extraction methods. The content of total polyphenols was determined using the Folin–Ciocâlteu reagent method, and a qualitative and quantitative analysis of polyphenols was performed using the HPLC method. The antioxidant capacity of the extracts was determined using the DPPH radical method. The colour parameters (in the CIEL*a*b system) of the obtained extracts were also determined. The antioxidant activity of apple leaf extracts increased with increasing polyphenol content. Water–alcoholic extracts from apple leaves were characterised by a significantly higher antioxidant capacity and polyphenol content in comparison with water extracts. The best solvent was a mixture of water and methanol (80%). Among the phenolic compounds identified in the extracts, the most common was phloridzin. The highest content of phloridzin (105.0 mg/1 g of dry weight) was found in water–methanol extracts from the leaves of the Ligol variety obtained with ultrasound-assisted extraction. The extracts with the highest antioxidant activity (131.2 μmol of Trolox/1 g of dry weight) and polyphenol content (81.9 mg GAE/1 g of dry weight) were water–methanol from the leaves of the Ligol cultivar, obtained by shaking them with a solvent. Full article
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16 pages, 2290 KiB  
Article
Activity of Methanolic and Hydrolyzed Methanolic Extracts of Ricinus communis (Euphorbiaceae) and Kaempferol against Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae)
by Manolo Rodríguez-Cervantes, Carlos Eduardo Zavala-Gómez, Karla Hernández-Caracheo, Juan Campos-Guillén, Eloy Rodríguez-de León, Aldo Amaro-Reyes, José Alberto Rodríguez-Morales, Sandra Neli Jiménez-García, Rodolfo Figueroa-Brito, David Osvaldo Salinas-Sánchez, Francisco Javier Flores-Gallardo and Miguel Angel Ramos-López
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(7), 3128; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14073128 - 8 Apr 2024
Viewed by 558
Abstract
Spodoptera frugiperda is the main pest of maize. One of the alternatives proposed for its control is the implementation of products of botanical origin, such as those derived from Ricinus communis. In this work, the insecticidal and insectistatic activities of methanolic and [...] Read more.
Spodoptera frugiperda is the main pest of maize. One of the alternatives proposed for its control is the implementation of products of botanical origin, such as those derived from Ricinus communis. In this work, the insecticidal and insectistatic activities of methanolic and hydrolyzed methanolic extracts of the aerial parts of R. communis and kaempferol against S. frugiperda are evaluated. The methanolic extract presented a larval mortality rate of 55% and an accumulated mortality rate of 65% starting at 4000 ppm, with LC50 values of 3503 (larvae) and 2851 (accumulated); meanwhile, from a concentration of 1000 ppm, a decrease in pupa weight at 24 h of 20.5 mg was observed when compared to the control. The hydrolyzed methanolic extract presented a larval mortality and accumulated mortality rate of 60% from a concentration of 1000 ppm, and a decrease in pupa weight at 24 h of 35.31 mg was observed, when compared to the control. For the compound kaempferol 3-β-D-glucopyranoside, a larval mortality rate of 65% and an accumulated mortality rate of 80% were observed from 800 ppm, with LC50 values of 525.2 (larvae) and 335.6 ppm (accumulated); meanwhile, at 300 ppm, a decrease in pupa weight of 25.59 mg after 24 h was observed when compared to the control. Full article
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20 pages, 4548 KiB  
Article
Spontaneous and Controlled Fermentation Tests in Industrial Table Olives Production
by Nicola Simone, Giuseppina Di Loreto, Martina Bacceli, Sara Di Marco, Martina Cellini, Giulia Vecchiotti and Barbara Lanza
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(16), 9455; https://doi.org/10.3390/app13169455 - 21 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1148
Abstract
The process of debittering table olives, known as “natural”, represents the most studied method for its peculiarities. Searching among other studies, very little evidence was found about “outside the lab” tests; this encouraged our research, given the numerous external factors that could influence [...] Read more.
The process of debittering table olives, known as “natural”, represents the most studied method for its peculiarities. Searching among other studies, very little evidence was found about “outside the lab” tests; this encouraged our research, given the numerous external factors that could influence the whole process. In this study, we followed batch fermentation processes inside an industrial facility, testing both spontaneous and guided processes. The starter selected was a 1:1 ratio of Lactiplantibacillus plantarum B1 strain and Saccharomyces cerevisiae SC24 strain. (108 CFU/mL). Chemical-physical, microbiological, and phenolic parameters of five different barrels were analysed, with a periodic sampling (seven samplings). Results obtained confirmed logical correlations (p < 0.05 Pearson) between chemical-physical parameters (ashes vs. pulp/seed ratio, ashes vs. humidity, salt content vs. pulp/seed ratio, oil content vs. humidity) and showed a good discrimination between samples, especially regarding the phenolic profile of the different barrels (PCA and AHC). Microbiological analysis showed the evolution of microorganisms in the barrels, but the results have an unclear interpretation. No Enterobacter were found, so the safety of both process and product can be confirmed. These results highlight some criticalities of the industrial processes and represent useful data for technicians and production structures in order to improve the quality of the product and minimize losses. Full article
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11 pages, 913 KiB  
Article
Impact of Air- and Freeze-Drying Methods on Total Phenolic Content and Antioxidant Activity of Fistulina antarctica and Ramaria patagonica Fructification
by Gabriela C. González, Maximiliano Rugolo, Tiane C. Finimundy, Elizabeth Ohaco, Maria B. Pildain and Carolina Barroetaveña
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(15), 8873; https://doi.org/10.3390/app13158873 - 1 Aug 2023
Viewed by 903
Abstract
Fistulina antarctica and Ramaria patagonica are wild edible fungi from Patagonia, which produce mushrooms that have been consumed since ancient times by those in local communities. Both species possess high protein and low fat contents and other bioactive compounds with remarkable antioxidant activity. [...] Read more.
Fistulina antarctica and Ramaria patagonica are wild edible fungi from Patagonia, which produce mushrooms that have been consumed since ancient times by those in local communities. Both species possess high protein and low fat contents and other bioactive compounds with remarkable antioxidant activity. Drying is a widely and commonly practiced preservation technique that is cost-effective. However, the process of drying can have an impact on the levels of bioactive compounds. In this study, the effects of drying methods on the total phenolic content (TPC) and antioxidant activity in the fructification of F. antarctica and R. patagonica were estimated. The analysis was conducted using fructifications that were fresh-frozen, dried at 50, 60, and 70 °C, and freeze-dried. The TPC was significantly higher for the fructifications that were fresh-frozen and dried at 60 °C in R. patagonica (with values of 14.78 and 13.67 mg GAE/mg of extract, respectively). Also, the fresh-freezing, freeze-drying. and 60 °C methods exhibited the highest inhibition of free radicals. In addition, R. patagonica had a notably higher concentration of phenols and showed higher antioxidant capacity than F. antarctica. The greatest losses concerning phenols occur in F. antarctica in the three evaluated air-drying temperatures (36.57, 29.76, 39.47% in 50, 60 and 70 °C respectively, compared with fresh-frozen). TPC and antioxidant activity were higher in fresh-frozen and freeze-dried samples. A drying temperature of 60 °C is advisable for both species, considering drying time and bioactivity. Overall, the fructifications from different processing methods exhibited unique functional properties. This information can be utilized to optimize the postharvest preservation and maximize the potential applications of these mushrooms. Full article
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18 pages, 3267 KiB  
Article
Assessment of Antidiabetic and Anti-Inflammatory Activities of Carissa carandas Linn Extract: In Vitro and In Vivo Study
by Manaschanok Lailerd, Thiri Wai Linn, Narissara Lailerd, Duangporn Amornlerdpison and Arisa Imsumran
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(11), 6454; https://doi.org/10.3390/app13116454 - 25 May 2023
Viewed by 2165
Abstract
This study investigated the effects of aqueous fruit extracts of Carissa carandas (CCA) on inflammation and insulin resistance using an in vitro cellular model, in vivo high-fat diets, and a streptozotocin-induced type 2 diabetic (T2DM) rat model. CCA significantly ameliorated inflammation by decreasing [...] Read more.
This study investigated the effects of aqueous fruit extracts of Carissa carandas (CCA) on inflammation and insulin resistance using an in vitro cellular model, in vivo high-fat diets, and a streptozotocin-induced type 2 diabetic (T2DM) rat model. CCA significantly ameliorated inflammation by decreasing nitric oxide production in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced RAW 264.7 macrophages. Interestingly, CCA showed anti-insulin resistance activities, as it significantly improved glucose uptake and decreased glycerol release in LPS-induced 3T3-L1 adipocytes. In vivo studies showed that a high dose of 12-week oral supplementation of CCA (400 mg/kg BW/day) significantly reduced visceral fat, triglycerides, and cholesterol level in the blood of diabetic rats. Importantly, the metabolic parameters in both fasting and postprandial states, including fasting plasma glucose, HOMA-IR, and glucose intolerance, significantly improved, indicating its antihyperglycemic benefit in diabetic rats. Moreover, the results of the HOMA-β and histological examination suggested that pancreatic β-cell function and pancreatic morphological changes of the CCA and metformin treatments appeared to be better than those in non-treated diabetes, indicating the protective effect of CCA against pancreatic damage caused by hyperglycemia. In conclusion, the present study first reported that the C. carandas fruit extract has anti-inflammation and anti-insulin resistance, and subsequently improved glycemic control in the T2DM rat model. Full article
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Review

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38 pages, 2793 KiB  
Review
A Review on the Potential Use of Medicinal Plants from the Apiaceae and the Rosaceae Families in Cardiovascular Diseases—Experimental Evidence and Traditional Applications
by Rafał Celiński, Barbara Krzemińska, Anna Grzywa-Celińska, Gabriela Szewczyk and Katarzyna Dos Santos Szewczyk
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(9), 3728; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14093728 - 27 Apr 2024
Viewed by 431
Abstract
Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of mortality worldwide. The World Health Organization has presented alarming data stating that in 2019, 17.9 million people globally died due to cardiovascular diseases, constituting 32% of all deaths. Despite increasingly advanced pharmacological and procedural treatment methods [...] Read more.
Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of mortality worldwide. The World Health Organization has presented alarming data stating that in 2019, 17.9 million people globally died due to cardiovascular diseases, constituting 32% of all deaths. Despite increasingly advanced pharmacological and procedural treatment methods for these diseases, there is still a quest for new therapeutic possibilities that promise even greater efficacy and safety. The overriding purpose of this study is to provide an insight into the traditional uses of species from the Apiaceae and Rosaceae families as well as to systematize knowledge regarding their scientifically proven cardiovascular activities (animal studies and clinical trials). The review is intended to indicate knowledge gaps for future studies concerning plants used in traditional medicine but without scientific research. As a result, various plant species from both Apiaceae and Rosaceae family have been collected and described based on their study that has proven their effectiveness and uses in cardiovascular diseases. Most of these plants have a hypotensive effect, followed by anti-hyperlipidemic, vasorelaxant, antithrombotic, and diuretic activity. These are the mechanisms that contribute to various cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack, coronary heart disease, hypertension, and stroke. Full article
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