Scientists have made the extraction of bioactive substances faster

Scientists of TSU’s Laboratory of Phytochemistry and Experimental Pharmacology, with colleagues from Ramkhamhaeng University (Bangkok), developed a method of using ultrasound to increase the degree of extraction of biologically active substances (BAS) from plants. In addition, in their experiments, the biologists succeeded in discovering a new source of ecdysteroids (molting hormones) that possess adaptogenic, immunostimulating, and hepatoprotective activity and are capable of inhibiting the growth of sarcoma cells. Their results were published in International Journal of Food and Biosystems Engineering.

Ecdysteroids are hormones involved in the molting and metamorphosis of insects and crustaceans. However, the animals themselves can not synthesize them and instead consume them from plants. The Laboratory of Phytochemistry and Experimental Pharmacology is one of the few in the world that has been engaged in the study of ecdysteroids and the search for plants that contain them for 30 years. These secondary metabolites are very promising for pharmacology, and substances of different biological activity have been created abroad that are based on them.

- With colleagues from Thailand, we studied three kinds of saw-wort. A preliminary chromatographic analysis of seeds obtained from the Jena Botanical Garden (Germany) confirmed the high probability of the presence of ecdysteroids in adult plants, - says Larisa Zibareva, head of the Laboratory of Phytochemistry and Experimental Pharmacology. - Then, these species were grown in TSU’s Siberian Botanical Garden. The raw materials were studied for the content of ecdysteroids and flavonoids using high-performance liquid chromatography and used to isolate pure compounds.

The traditional method of extracting BAS involves five steps and takes an average of 12 hours. In their experiments, the scientists used high intensity ultrasound, which made it possible to accelerate the extraction process and reduce the time spent to one hour, that is, make the process 12 times faster. Moreover, the yield of nutrients increased.

The final part of the research was at Ramkhamhaeng University in Bangkok. Individual biologically active sulfuric compounds were brought there from Tomsk to study chemical structures of saw-wort using NMR and mass spectrometry. This made it possible to identify the isolated substances and discover a new source of BAS - Serratula cupuliformis, a traditional plant in the northern part of China, in which ecdysteroids were identified for the first time.

- These data have not only fundamental importance, they can be used successfully in pharmacology, -says Larisa Zibareva. - Based on steroid substances of vegetable origin, we can develop drugs that will be no less effective than synthetic chemicals but safe for people.

Laboratory of Phytochemistry and Experimental Pharmacology scientists intend to expand their research, in particular, to begin work with experts in IT on computer prediction of the biological activity of plants on the structure of compounds of secondary metabolites.

The full text of the article published in International Journal of Food and Biosystems Engineering