Retama sphaerocarpa: An unexploited and rich source of alkaloids, unsaturated fatty acids and other valuable phytochemicals


The chemical composition of the lipophilic extracts of the stems and grains of the shrub Retama sphaerocarpa was investigated by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry for the first time. Fatty acids is the major family of compounds in both morphological parts, representing between 37.1 and 85.1% of the total compounds detected, followed by sterols in stems and monoglycerides in grains. Considerable amounts of the alkaloids retamine (9.6 g kg(-1). of dry material) and cytisine (0.6 g kg(-1) of dry material) were also found in stems and grains, respectively. Before alkaline hydrolysis octadec-9-enoic (0.7-2.4 g kg(-1) of dry material), octadeca-9,12-dienoic (1.5-2.9 g kg(-1) of dry material) and hexadecanoic (1.1-2.0 g kg(-1) of dry material) acids are the most abundant lipophilic components in both morphological parts. After alkaline hydrolysis the contents of octade-9-enoic, octadeca-9,12-dienoic and octadeca-9,12,15-trienoic acids detected increased considerably ranging from 1.9 to 22.4, 3.6 to 40.1 and 0 to 8.6 g kg(-1) of dry material, respectively. Smaller amounts of long-chain aliphatic alcohols, alpha-tocopherol and beta-amyrin were also found. These data indicates that R. sphaerocarpa stems and grains are a potential source of valuable phytochemicals, with recognized nutritional and phytopharmaceutical applications. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.



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Touati, R; Santos, SAO; Rocha, SM; Belhamel, K; Silvestre, AJD

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The authors wish to thank to FCT-Portugal (Fundacao para a Ciencia e Tecnologia) and POPH/FSE for the postdoctoral grants to S.A.O. Santos (SFRH/BPD/84226/2012), for Associate Laboratory CICECO funding (Ref. FCT UID/CTM/50011/2013 and QOPNA (PEst-C/QUI/UI0062/2013 and FCOMP-01-0124-FEDER-037296). R. Touati gratefully acknowledges the financial support as grant from Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research of Algeria.

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