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Daru. 2014 Jan 7;22(1):12. doi: 10.1186/2008-2231-22-12.

Bioactive Terpenoids and Flavonoids from Daucus littoralis Smith subsp. hyrcanicus Rech.f, an Endemic Species of Iran.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy and Medicinal Plants Research Centre, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran 14155-6451, Iran.



Daucus littoralis Smith subsp. hyrcanicus Rech.f. (Apiaceae) is an endemic species in northern parts of Iran where it is commonly named Caspian carrot. The fruits have been used as condiment.


In a series of in vitro assays, antioxidant (DPPH and FRAP assays), cytotoxic and antimicrobial activities of different extracts of roots and fruits were evaluated for the first time. The separation and purification of the compounds were carried out on the most potent extracts using various chromatographic methods and identified by spectroscopic data (1H and 13C NMR).


The results showed that among the extracts only fruit methanol extract (FME) has significant antioxidant activity (IC50 = 145.93 μ in DPPH assay and 358 ± 0.02 mmol FeII/g dry extract in FRAP assay). The radical scavenging activity of FME at 400 μ was comparable with α-tocopherol (40 μ and with BHA (100 μ (p > 0.05). FME did not show any toxicity against cancerous and normal cell lines. Fruit ethyl acetate extract (FEE) had cytotoxic activity against breast carcinoma and hepatocellular carcinoma cells (IC50 168.4 and 185 μ, respectively), while it did not possess antioxidant activity in comparison with α-tocopherol and BHA as standard compounds. Ethyl acetate and methanol extract of fruits showed antimicrobial activity against Staphylococcus aureus (MIC: 3.75 and Candida albicans (MIC: 15.6 and 7.8, respectively). Four terpenoids were isolated form FEE including: β-sitosterol (1), stigmasterol (2), caryophyllene oxide (3), β-amyrin (4). Also, three flavonoids namely quercetin 3-O-β-glucoside (5), quercetin 3-O-β-galactoside (6) and luteolin (7) were isolated from FME.


This study showed that FEE and FME of D. littoralis Smith subsp. hyrcanicus Rech.f. had the highest biological activities which may be correlated with in vitro cytotoxic, antimicrobial and antioxidant activities of terpenoids and flavonoids components of the extracts.

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