Chemical Profile of Lipophilic Fractions of Different Parts of Zizyphus lotus L. by GC-MS and Evaluation of Their Antiproliferative and Antibacterial Activities


Zizyphus lotus L. is a perennial shrub particularly used in Algerian folk medicine, but little is known concerning the lipophilic compounds in the most frequently used parts, namely, root bark, pulp, leaves and seeds, which are associated with health benefits. In this vein, the lipophilic fractions of these morphological parts of Z. lotus from Morocco were studied by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), and their antiproliferative and antimicrobial activities were evaluated. GC-MS analysis allowed the identification and quantification of 99 lipophilic compounds, including fatty acids, long-chain aliphatic alcohols, pentacyclic triterpenic compounds, sterols, monoglycerides, aromatic compounds and other minor components. Lipophilic extracts of pulp, leaves and seeds were revealed to be mainly composed of fatty acids, representing 54.3-88.6% of the total compounds detected. The leaves and seeds were particularly rich in unsaturated fatty acids, namely, (9Z,12Z)-octadeca-9,12-dienoic acid (2431 mg kg(-1) of dry weight) and (9Z)-octadec-9-enoic acid (6255 mg kg(-1) of dry weight). In contrast, root bark contained a high content of pentacyclic triterpenic compounds, particularly betulinic acid, accounting for 9838 mg kg(-1) of dry weight. Root bark extract showed promising antiproliferative activity against a triple-negative breast cancer cell line, MDA-MB-231, with a half-maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) = 4.23 +/- 0.18 mu g mL(-1) of extract. Leaf extract displayed interesting antimicrobial activity against Escherichia coli, methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermis, presenting minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) values from 1024 to 2048 mu g mL(-1) of extract. Our results demonstrate that Zizyphus lotus L. is a source of promising bioactive components, which can be exploited as natural ingredients in pharmaceutical formulations.



subject category

Biochemistry & Molecular Biology; Chemistry


Zazouli, S; Chigr, M; Ramos, PAB; Rosa, D; Castro, MM; Jouaiti, A; Duarte, MF; Santos, SAO; Silvestre, AJD

our authors


This work was developed within the scope of the project CICECO-Aveiro Institute of Materials (UIDB/50011/2020 and UIDP/50011/2020), LAQV-REQUIMTE (UIDB/50006/2020 and UIDP/50006/2020), as well within the project MED-Mediterranean Institute for Agriculture, Environment and Development FCT Ref. UIDP/05183/2020, both financed by national funds through the FCT/MCTES and, where applicable, co-financed by the FEDER within the PT2020 Partnership Agreement. S.A.O. Santos thanks the project AgroForWealth: Biorefining of agricultural and forest by-products and wastes: integrated strategic for valorization of resources towards society wealth and sustainability (CENTRO-01-0145-FEDER-000001), funded by Centro 2020 through FEDER and PT2020, for financial support. Patricia A. B. Ramos acknowledges the MultiBiorefinery project (POCI-01-0145-FEDER-016403) for her postdoctoral grant. Sofia Zazouli gratefully acknowledges the financial support from University Sultan Moulay Slimane, Faculty of Sciences and Technology of Beni Mellal, Morocco.

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