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Phytochemical profiling of leaf, stem, and tuber parts of Solena amplexicaulis (Lam.) Gandhi using GC-MS.

1. Introduction

Herbal plants are valuable gift of nature for mankind and they are the source of a variety of phytochemicals which are utilized for human and animal diets also. It is capable of synthesizing an overwhelming variety of low molecular weight organic compounds called secondary metabolites, usually with unique and complex structures. The medicinal actions of plants unique to particular plant species or groups are consistent with the concept that the combination of secondary products in a particular plant is taxonomically distinct [1]. It states that around 85-90% of the world's population consumes traditional herbal medicines [2]. In recent decades, studies on phyto chemical constituents of medicinal plant and its pharmacological activities have received wide attention [3-6]. WHO has emphasized the need to ensure the quality of medicinal plant products using modern techniques with the application of suitable standards. Many modern methods are adapted for identification and quantification of active principle compounds in plant materials. Of them, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) has become firmly established as a key technological platform for secondary metabolite profiling in both plant and nonplant species [7, 8].

The plant species Solena amplexicaulis is commonly called creeping cucumber and belongs to the family Cucurbitaceae distributed very seldom in the dry deciduous forest and scrub jungles of Tamil Nadu [9]. The medicinal uses of this species are multifaceted. The local healers of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh are prescribing this species for many ailments owing to its effective healing property [10]. The traditional healers are prescribing the tubers, leaves, and seeds of this species for various ailments like spermatorrhoea, thermogenics, diuretics, haemorrhoids, and invigorating and it is a very good appetizer and cardiotonic [11]. The whole plant is a potential source of natural antioxidant [12, 13], antidiabetic [10], and antibacterial agent [14] also. As the leaves have good anti-inflammatory activity, it is recommended for inflammation, skin lesions, and skin diseases [15]. Crude leaf juice is used to cure jaundice 16]. Unripe fruits are eaten raw to strengthen the body [17]. The decoction of the root is taken orally to cure stomachache [18]. As the reproductive parts like seeds and tubers are exploited severely for medicinal uses, this species becomes rare sighted in its habitats of Tamil Nadu.

Despite these wide medicinal uses, no information on qualitative account of phytochemicals is available for this species. To address this lacuna, GC-MS studies were undertaken to explore the phytochemical constituents present in the leaf, stem, and tuber parts of S. amplexicaulis.

2. Materials and Methods

2.1. Collection, Identification and Preparation of Plant Materials. The leaf, stem, and tuber parts of S. amplexicaulis were collected separately from the thorny scrub jungles of Madukkarai, Coimbatore District, Tamil Nadu, India. The authenticity of the plant was confirmed in Botanical Survey of India, Southern Regional Centre, Coimbatore, by referring to the deposited specimen (Voucher specimen number: CPS 313). They were washed thoroughly in tap water, shade-dried, and then homogenized to fine powder and stored in air tight bottles.

2.2. Preparation of Extract. 50 g of powdered leaf, stem, and tuber parts of S. amplexicaulis was separately extracted with 250 mL methanol at the temperature between 60 and 65[degrees]C for 24 h by using soxhlet extractor. The solvent was evaporated by rotary vacuum evaporator to obtain viscous semisolid masses. This semidry methanolic crude extract was subjected to GC-MS analysis.

2.3. GC-MS Analysis. GC-MS analysis was carried out on a 5975C Agilent equipped with a DB-5ms Agilent fused silica capillary column (30 x 0.25 mm ID; film thickness: 0.25 [micro]m), operating in electron impact mode at 70 eV. Pure helium (99.999%) was used as carrier gas at a constant flow of 1 mL/min and an injection volume of 1 [micro]L was employed (split ratio is 10:1). Mass transfer line and injector temperature were set at 230 and 250[degrees]C, respectively. The oven temperature was programmed from 70 (isothermal for 3 min) to 300[degrees]C (isothermal for 9 min) at the rate of 10[degrees]C/min. Total GC running time was 34 min and the MS detection was completed within 35 min.

By GC-MS, the compounds were separated and then they were eluted from the column and made enter into the detector which was capable of creating an electronic signal. Then they were processed by the computer for generating chromatogram. Then the compound entered into the electron ionization (mass spectroscopy) detector, where they were bombarded with a stream of electrons causing them to break apart into fragments. These fragments were actually charged ions with certain mass. The m/z (mass/charge) ratio obtained was calibrated from the graph, called the mass spectrum, and is the fingerprint of the molecule.

2.4. Identification of the Compounds. To identify the compounds, the extract was assigned for comparison of their retention indices and mass spectra fragmentation patterns with those stored on the computer library and also with the published literature. National Institute of Standards and Technology library sources were also used for matching the identified compounds from the plant materials [19, 20].

3. Results

The gas chromatograms of leaf, stem, and tuber parts of S. amplexicaulis confirmed the presence of various interesting compounds with different retention times as illustrated in Figures 1, 2, and 3. These compounds were identified through mass spectrometry attached with GC. The identified compounds and their retention time, molecular formula, molecular weight, peak area (%), structure, category of the compound, and activities related with medicinal uses are given in Tables 1, 2, and 3 for leaf, stem, and tuber, respectively. The compound prediction is based on Dr. Duke's Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases. Six compounds were detected in the methanolic leaf extract of S. amplexicaulis. Among them, the most prevailing major compounds were phytol, a diterpene (peak area: 38.24%) (Figure 4(a)), carane, a terpene (peak area: 18.76%) (Figure 4(b)), and 1-octanamine, an aliphatic amine (peak area: 16.16%). The methanolic stem extract of S. amplexicaulis showed the presence of fifteen different organic compounds. The major phytochemical compounds among them were 4-(4-ethoxyphenyl) but-3-en-2-one, an aliphatic acid (peak area: 56.90%) (Figure 4(c)), trehalose, sucrose (peak area: 11.49%) (Figure 4(d)), hexadecanoic acid, methyl ester, a linoleic acid ester (peak area: 6.52%), and 9octadecenoic acid (Z)-, methyl ester, another linoleic acid ester (peak area: 6.76%). Fourteen compounds were identified in the methanolic tuber extract. In this account, 9,17-octadecadienal (Z)-, an unsaturated aldehyde (peak area: 21.77%) (Figure 4(e)), n-hexadecanoic acid, a palmitic acid (peak area: 21.75%) (Figure 4(f)), phthalic acid, di(2-propylpentyl) ester, a dicarboxylic acid ester (peak area: 9.48%), and 9,12-octadecadienoic acid (Z,Z)-, a linolenic acid (peak area: 9.35%) were the major phytochemicals on the basis of quantity.

4. Discussion

The gas chromatogram shows that the relative concentrations of various compounds are getting eluted as a function of retention time. The height of the peaks indicates the relative concentrations of the compounds present in the plant. The mass spectrometer analyzes of the compounds eluted at different times to identify the nature and structure of the compounds. The large compound fragments into small compounds give rise to appearance of peaks at different m/z ratios. These mass spectra are fingerprint of that compound which can be identified from the data library.

Generally, the reliability of medicinal plant for its usage is evaluated by correlating the phytochemical compounds with their biological activities [21]. In the present study, the GC-MS analysis of the methanolic extracts of leaf, stem, and tuber parts of S. amplexicaulis altogether showed the presence of 35 compounds. In this account, the leaf extract contained six compounds among them, phytol (38.24%) is having anticancer, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antitumor, antimicrobial, diuretic, and chemopreventive properties and used in vaccine formulations [22, 23]. The other compound, carane (18.76%) is having antifeedant and antioxidant properties [24, 25]. The methanolic stem and tuber extracts showed the presence of greater number of 14 and 15 compounds, respectively. The six phytoconstituents, namely, undecane, taurolidine, trehalose, hexadecanoic acid methyl ester, 9octadecenoic acid (Z)-, methyl ester, and benzaldehyde, 2nitro-, diaminomet hylidenhydrazone in stem extracts have possessed medicinal properties [26]. Undecane, an alkane, is an antimicrobial agent, used as carcinogen [27, 28]. Similarly, the other compound, taurolidine, a taurine amino acid derivative, has antimicrobial, antilipopolysaccharidal, and antitumor properties [29, 30]. The sucrose compound, trehalose, is used for the treatment of amyloidosis [31]. The linoleic acid esters present in the stem, hexadecanoic acid methyl ester, are reported to have anti-inflammatory, cancer preventive, hepatoprotective, antiarthritic, and anticoronary properties. The other linoleic acid ester, 9-octadecenoic acid (Z)-, methyl ester, is also having anti-inflammatory, antiandrogenic, and anemiagenic properties [32]. The nitrogen compound, benzaldehyde, 2-nitro-, diaminomet hylidenhydrazone, is known to have the property of curing infectious diseases by its antimicrobial activity. In the tuber extracts, the compounds identified, namely, 10,13-octadecadienoic acid methyl ester, trans-13-octadecenoic acid, methyl ester, and 9,12-octadecadienoic acid (Z,Z)-, are possessed with anti-inflammatory and cancer preventive characters. The two compounds, namely, tetradecanoic acid and n-hexadecanoic acid, are antioxidants. The phthalic acid, 1,2-benzenedicarboxylic acid, bis(2-methylpropyl) ester, is used in the preparation of perfumes and cosmetics. The unsaturated alcoholic compound, 9,17-octadecadienal, (Z)-, is reported to have antimicrobial property [33]. The study species S. amplexicaulis is endowed with various medicinal properties maybe due to the presence of all these compounds described. In a similar fashion, certain traditional medicinal plant species of Cucurbitaceae have been analyzed phytochemically by using GC-MS and suggested for drug preparation after succeeding in clinical trials [34, 35]. The therapeutic properties of the other compounds in all the three parts of S. amplexicaulis were not yet reported.

Our investigation through the present study revealed that the species S. amplexicaulis is a reliable source of bioactive compounds like fatty acid esters, alcohols, hydrocarbons, alkanes, amines, terpenes, and sugars that justify the traditional usage of this species [16-18] by the local healers in Coimbatore and Tirupur districts of Tamil Nadu, India, for various ailments. As GC-MS is the first step towards understanding the nature of active principles [36,37], further investigation in this species is suggested for the development of novel drugs.

Conflict of Interests

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interests regarding the publication of this paper.


The authors graciously acknowledge the financial support given by University Grants Commission, New Delhi (Grant no. F. 41-415/2012(Sr)), to carry out the work.


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Karthika Krishnamoorthy and Paulsamy Subramaniam

PG and Research Department of Botany, Kongunadu Arts and Science College, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu 641029, India

Correspondence should be addressed to Paulsamy Subramaniam;

Received 24 March 2014; Revised 12 May 2014; Accepted 19 May 2014; Published 14 July 2014

Academic Editor: Qi Zhang

TABLE 1: Compounds identified in the methanolic leaf extract
of Solena amplexicaulis by GC-MS.

S.       Name of the compound    RT         Molecular formula

1        Hexahydropyridine, l-   6.761    [C.sub.12][H.sub.17]
            methyl-4-[4,5-                     N[O.sub.2]
2            1-Octan amine       11.990   [C.sub.8][H.sub.19]N
3          1-Tetradecanamine     12.091   [C.sub.14][H.sub.31]N
4               Carane           16.317   [C.sub.10][H.sub.18]
5         Pentane-2,4-dione,     16.753   [C.sub.15][H.sub.22]
            3-(l-adamantyl)                     [O.sub.2]
6               Phytol           18.990   [C.sub.20][H.sub.40]O

S.       Molecular    Peak    Structure
number    weight     area %

1         207.12     10.75

2         129.24     16.16
3         213.40     10.24
4         138.24     18.76
5         234.33      5.85

6         296.53     38.24

S.         Category of the              Activity *
number        compound

1        Aromatic piperidine       No activity reported

2          Aliphatic amine         No activity reported
3          Aliphatic amine         No activity reported
4              Terpene           Antifeedant, antioxidant
5        Aliphatic diketone        No activity reported

6             Diterpene          Anticancer, antioxidant,
                               anti-inflammatory, diuretic,
                                antitumor, chemopreventive,
                                   antimicrobial, use in
                                   vaccine formulations

* Source: Dr. Dukes Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical
Databases (online database).

TABLE 2: Compounds identified in the methanolic stem extract of
Solena amplexicaulis by GC-MS.

S.          Name of the compound       RT        Molecular formula

1           1,3-Cyclopentanedione      3.929     [C.sub.5][H.sub.6]
2                 Undecane             6.718    [C.sub.11][H.sub.24]

3          1,2,4-Triazino [5,6-E]      7.633     [C.sub.4][H.sub.8]
            1,2,4]-triazine-3,6-                     [N.sub.6]
              dione, hexahydro-                      [O.sub.2]
4              4-Hydroxyphenyl         10.218   [C.sub.13][H.sub.9]
               3-nitrobenzoate                       N[O.sub.5]
5                Taurolidine           10.261   [C.sub.7][H.sub.16]

6            4-(4-Ethoxyphenyl)        12.033   [C.sub.12][H.sub.14]
               but-3-en-2-one                        [O.sub.2]
7                 Trehalose            12.469   [C.sub.12][H.sub.22]

8         d-Glycero-d-tallo-heptose    12.701   [C.sub.7][H.sub.14]
9         Benzaldehyde, 6-hydroxy-     13.442   [C.sub.10][H.sub.12]
           4-methoxy-2,3-dimethyl-                   [O.sub.3]
10           9-Tetradecen-l-ol,        16.303   [C.sub.16][H.sub.30]
                acetate, (Z)-                        [O.sub.2]
11           Hexadecanoic acid,        17.174   [C.sub.17][H.sub.34]
                methyl ester                         [O.sub.2]

12       1-Methyl-3-ethyladamantane    17.581   [C.sub.12][H.sub.22]
13        9-Octadecenoic acid (Z)-,    18.844   [C.sub.19][H.sub.36]
                methyl ester                         [O.sub.2]

14         Benzaldehyde, 2-nitro-,     18.975    [C.sub.8][H.sub.9]
         diaminomet hylidenhydrazone             [N.sub.5][O.sub.2]
15         Heptadecanoic acid, 10-     19.077   [C.sub.19][H.sub.38]
            methyl-, methyl ester                    [O.sub.2]

S.       Molecular    Peak    Structure
number    weight     area %

1          98.09      4.47

2         156.30      3.92

3         172.14      0.36

4         259.21      0.52

5         284.35      0.17

6         190.24     56.90

7         342.29     11.49

8         210.18      1.68

9         180.20      1.71

10        254.40      1.40

11        270.45      6.52

12        178.31      1.37
13        296.48      6.76

14        207.18      1.42

15        298.50      1.29

S.         Category of the               Activity *
number        compound

1          Cyclic diketone          No activity reported

2              Alkane              Antimicrobial agents,
                                transducer for immunosensor
                               and its method of production,
                                    carcinogens, enzyme
                                    inhibitors, solvents
3             Triazine              No activity reported

4          Aromatic nitro           No activity reported
5           Taurine amino           Antimicrobial, anti-
           acid derivative       lipopolysaccharide, anti-
                                  tumor properties, anti-
                                     infective agents,
                                   antineoplastic agents
6          Aliphatic acid           No activity reported

7              Sucrose           Treat amyloidosis (prevent
                                 the deposition of amyloid
                                    protein in the body)
8           Aldo heptose            No activity reported

9             Aromatic              No activity reported
10         Aliphatic ester          No activity reported

11       Linoleic acid ester         Anti-inflammatory,
                                hypocholesterolemic, cancer
                               preventive, hepatoprotective,
                                  nematicide, insectifuge,
                                antihistaminic, antieczemic,
                                 antiacne, alpha reductase
                                 inhibitor, antiandrogenic,
                                antiarthritic, anticoronary
12         Bicyclic alkane          No activity reported
13       Linoleic acid ester         Anti-inflammatory,
                                   antiandrogenic cancer
                                 preventive, dermatitigenic
                                hypocholesterolemic, 5-alpha
                                    reductase inhibitor,
                                  anemiagenic, insectifuge
14        Nitrogen compound            Antimicrobial

15           Fatty ester            No activity reported

* Source: Dr. Dukes Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical
Databases (online database).

TABLE 3: Compounds identified in the methanolic
tuber extract of Solena amplexicaulis by GC-MS.

S.         Name of the compound      RT

1             Dodecanoic acid        13.776
2           Tetradecanoic acid       16.071

3         1,2-Benzenedicarboxylic    17.189
               acid, bis(2-
            methylpropyl) ester

4         Pentadecanoic acid, 14-    17.842
           methyl-, methyl ester
5           n-Hexadecanoic acid      18.176

6               Cystodytin           18.510

7           1-Decanol, 2-hexyl-      18.583
8          10,13-Octadecadienoic     19.469
            acid, methyl ester

9          frans-13-Octadecenoic     19.527
            acid, methyl ester

10         9,12-Octadecadienoic      19.817
                acid (Z,Z)-

11       9,17-Octadecadienal, (Z)-   19.876
12         Phthalic acid, di(2-      23.201
            propylpentyl) ester

13        Anthracene, 9-ethyl-9,     25.699
14         4-Dehydroxy- N-(4,5-      32.148

S.             Molecular formula          Molecular    Peak
number                                     weight     area %

1        [C.sub.12][H.sub.24][O.sub.2]     200.31      2.40
2        [C.sub.14][H.sub.28][O.sub.2]     228.37      0.95

3        [C.sub.16][H.sub.22][O.sub.4]     278.34      0.74

4        [C.sub.17][H.sub.34][O.sub.2]     270.45      4.61

5        [C.sub.16][H.sub.32][O.sub.2]     256.42     21.75

6        [C.sub.22][H.sub.19][O.sub.3]     373.78      1.58

7            [C.sub.16][H.sub.34]O         242.44      1.21
8        [C.sub.19][H.sub.34][O.sub.2]     294.47      4.72

9        [C.sub.19][H.sub.36][O.sub.2]     296.48      3.55

10       [C.sub.18][H.sub.32][O.sub.2]     280.44      9.35

11           [C.sub.18][H.sub.32]O         264.44     21.77
12            [C.sub.24][H.sub.37]         390.55     9.48 P

13            [C.sub.20][H.sub.24]         264.40      1.26

14            [C.sub.16][H.sub.14]         298.29      6.72

S.       Structure     Category of the            Activity *
number                     compound

1                        Fatty acids        No activity reported
2                       Myristic acid        Antioxidant, cancer

3                       Phthalic ester       Used in preparation
                                               of perfumes and
                                              plasticized vinyl
                                             seats on furniture,
                                             cars, and clothing
                                             including jackets,
                                            raincoats, and boots
                                                 and used in
                                                textiles, as
                                            cosmetics, and glass
4                        Fatty ester        No activity reported

5                       Palmitic acid           Antioxidant,
                                            lubricant, hemolytic
6                     Aromatic alkaloid       Antiproliferative
                                              activity in human
                                              tumor cell lines

7                     Aliphatic alcohols        Antimicrobial
8                    Linoleic acid esters    Anti-inflammatory,
                                             cancer preventive,
9                    Linoleic acid esters    Anti-inflammatory,
                                             cancer preventive,
                                              5-alpha reductase
                                             insectifuge, flavor
10                      Linolenic acid       Anti-inflammatory,
                                             cancer preventive,
11                   Unsaturated aldehyde       Antimicrobial
12                       Dicarboxylic       Oral toxicity during
                          acid ester        pregnancy and sucking
                                            in the Long-Evans Rat
13                       Hydrocarbons       No activity reported

14                   Tyramine derivative    No activity reported

* Source: Dr. Dukes Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical
Databases (online database).
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Title Annotation:Research Article
Author:Krishnamoorthy, Karthika; Subramaniam, Paulsamy
Publication:International Scholarly Research Notices
Article Type:Report
Date:Jan 1, 2014
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