Phytochemicals and bioactivity in wild German and Roman chamomiles infusions
Calhelha, Ricardo C.
Carvalho, Ana Maria
Queiroz, Maria João R.P.
Ferreira, Isabel C.F.R.
Natural matrices represent a rich source of biologically active compounds and are an example of
molecular diversity, with recognized potential in drug discovery. In the present work, the infusions
of Matricaria recutita L. (German chamomile) and Chamaemelum nobile L. (Roman chamomile)
were submitted to an analysis of phenolic compounds and evaluation of bioactivity. Phenolic
compounds were characterized by reversed-phase high performance liquid chromatography
coupled to diode array detection and mass spectrometry with electron spray ionization (HPLCDAD/
ESI-MS). The bioactivity of the samples was tested in different human tumour cell lines
(breast- MCF-7, lung- NCI-H460, colon- HCT -15, cervical- He l a and hepatocellular- HepG2
carcinomas}, and the hepatotoxicity was evaluated using a porcine liver primary cell culture (nontumour
cells, PLP2) [1 ,2]. The major compounds found were luteolin 0-acylhexoside in German
chamomile, and 5-0-caffeoylquinic acid and an apigenin derivative in Roman chamomile. The
highest potential antioxidant activity was showed by German chamomile in all the in vitro assays.
Both the infusions showed inhibitory activity of the growth of HCT -15 and He la cell lines, without
hepatotoxicity (GI 50>400 μg/ml). Nevertheless, Roman chamomile infusion presented the highest
inhibitory activity for all the cell lines (GI50<168 μg/ml ). Overall, infusions of both chamomiles
contain important phytochemicals with bioactive properties to be explored in medicinal, food, and
FCT and FEDER-COMPETE/QREN/EU (strategic projects PEstOE/
AGR/UI0690/201 1 and PEst-C/QUI/UI0686/2011 to CIMO and CQ-UM research centres,
respectively). R. Guimaraes, L. Barros and R.C. Calhelha (grants SFRH/BD/78307/2011 ,
SFRH/BPD/4609/2008 and SRFH/BPD/4609/2008, respectively) also thank FCT, POPH-QREN
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