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.