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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Anthocyanin and Potential Therapeutic Traits in Clitoria, Desmodium, Corchorus, Catharanthus, and Hibiscus Species

Authors
item Morris, John
item Wang, Ming

Submitted to: Acta Horticulture Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: September 26, 2007
Publication Date: November 8, 2007
Citation: Morris, J.B., Wang, M.L. 2007. Anthocyanin and Potential Therapeutic Traits in Clitoria, Desmodium, Corchorus, Catharanthus, and Hibiscus Species. ISHS Acta Horticulturae (756), International Symposium on Medicinal and Nutraceutical Plants. Available: http://www.ishs.org

Interpretive Summary: Several plant species, including butterfly pea, tick clover; jute, periwinkle, roselle, and sugar maple contain anthocyanins and other useful chemicals for potential use as medicine and nutritional products. A group of chemicals produced in leaves, flowers, and seed coats in many plant species are known as anthocyanins providing protection from pest attack and offer potentially health enhancing activities for people. Anthocyanin content in butterfly pea, tick clover, jute, periwinkle, roselle, and sugar maple is unknown. We found anthocyanin indexes ranging from 4.1 to 52.4 for leaves and 0.8 to 26.8 for flowers in all five of these species with the highest leaf anthocyanin index observed in tick clover (14.6) while the highest flower anthocyanin content of 17.3 was observed in periwinkle flowers. The literature shows that additional chemicals from these species with many health uses also exist, including the ability to potentially fight cancer. These anthocyanin indexes in these species allow for use as minor crops in the southern United States.

Technical Abstract: The USDA, ARS, Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit curates several important nutraceutical and medicinal plant species. Anthocyanins are responsible for flower, leaf, seed coat color in plants, and are antioxidants as well. However, little is known about anthocyanin content in Clitoria ternatea, Desmodium adscendens, Corchorus olitorius, Catharanthus roseus, Hibiscus sabdariffa and Acer saccharum. This study was conducted to identify anthocyanin indexes and additional health enhancing components in these species. An anthocyanin meter with an LED diode of 520 nm was used to measure the anthocyanin index of leaves and flowers from plants growing in the field during July, September, and October, 2006. We found anthocyanin indexes ranging from 4.1 to 52.4 for leaves and 0.8 and 26.8 for flowers in all five species. The highest leaf anthocyanin index average of 14.6 was found in D. adscendens (PI 316623) followed by sugar maple (A. saccharum) with a leaf anthocyanin average index of 13.0. Catharanthus roseus (PI 608581) also had the highest flower anthocyanin index average of 17.3. These data were recorded at our prior to 50% maturity. In addition, potential health uses for these species were discussed. Phytochemicals identified include but are not limited to an antimicrobial protein from C. ternatea, anthocyanin rich extracts from H. sabdariffa for potential use as a chemopreventive agent, and antitumor promoters in C. olitorius leaves. These anthocyanins and phytochemicals have potential value in the nutraceutical and medical industries. These variable anthocyanin indexes among these species will assist breeders and other scientists with valuable germplasm for development of anthocyanin enriched cultivars.

Last Modified: 11/27/2014
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