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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Booneville, Arkansas » Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #398528

Research Project: Sustainable Small Farm and Organic Grass and Forage Production Systems for Livestock and Agroforestry

Location: Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center

Title: Changes in the harpagide, harpagoside, and verbascoside content of field grown scrophularia lanceolata and scrophularia marilandica in response to season and shade

item BROWNSTEIN, KOREY - Washington State University
item THOMAS, ANDREW - University Of Missouri
item NGUYEN, HIEN T. T. - Washington State University
item GANG, DAVID - Washington State University
item FOLK, WILLIAM - University Of Missouri

Submitted to: Metabolites
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/14/2021
Publication Date: 7/19/2021
Citation: Brownstein, K.J., Thomas, A.L., Nguyen, H., Gang, D.R., Folk, W.R. 2021. Changes in the harpagide, harpagoside, and verbascoside content of field grown scrophularia lanceolata and scrophularia marilandica in response to season and shade. Metabolites. 11(7):464.

Interpretive Summary: Scrophularia lanceolata and Scrophularia marilandica are relatively common native wildflowers that occur in a variety of habitats around the midwestern USA. Several medicinal compounds (called iridoid and phenylethanoid/phenylpropanoid glycosides) that possess anti-inflammatory properties are found in these species. The study quantified where (leaf, root, stem, flower, fruit); when (spring, summer, fall); and under what environmental conditions (full sun, shade) these metabolites occur in greatest quantities and quality. The results set the stage for potential commercial cultivation of these species for the purpose of producing and extracting these important medicinal compounds for use in dietary supplement products.

Technical Abstract: Scrophularia lanceolata Pursh and Scrophularia marilandica L. are two common species within the Scrophulariaceae family that are endemic to North America. Historically, these species were used by indigenous peoples and colonialists to treat sunburn, sunstroke, frostbite, edema, as well as for blood purification, and in women's health. Several iridoid and phenylethanoid/phenylpropanoid glycosides detected in these species, such as harpagoside and verbascoside, possess anti-inflammatory and anti-nociceptive properties. Due to the presence of anti-inflammatory metabolites and the historical uses of these species, we performed a two-year field study to determine the optimal production of these important compounds. We subjected the plants to shade treatment and analyzed differences in the metabolite composition between the two species and each of their leaves, stems, and roots at various times throughout the growing seasons. We determined that S. lanceolata plants grown in full sun produced 0.63% harpagoside per dried weight in their leaves compared to shade-grown plants (0.43%). Furthermore, S. lanceolata accumulated more harpagoside than S. marilandica (0.24%). We also found that verbascoside accumulated in the leaves of S. lanceolata and S. marilandica as the growing season progressed, while the production of this metabolite remained mostly seasonally unchanged in the roots of both species.