2015, Number 3
Qualitative evaluation of secondary metabolites in extracts of Morus alba L. (mulberry) varieties and hybrids
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ABSTRACTIntroduction: the Morus genus constitutes an important source of bioactive substances of diverse chemical nature. In addition, the use of Morus alba L., plant known as mulberry, has been rapidly diversified because it has excellent nutritional qualities. In Cuba, it stands out as forage source due to its biomass production capacity, chemical composition, high degradability, adaptability to different climate and soil conditions, perennial character when pruned and availability.
Objectives: to perform the phytochemical sieving of 10 M. alba varieties and hybrids and evaluate the toxicity of the aqueous extracts in laboratory rats.
Methods: the fresh leaves were collected. They were washed, disinfected, dried, and pulverized and extracted with n-hexane, ethanol and water. The extracts were filtered and the phytochemical identification tests were ran on them. A toxicity evaluation of the aqueous extracts was conducted in rats for the preliminary determination of their innocuousness.
Results: the phytochemical study showed considerable quantities of triterpenes and steroids, as well as phenols and tannins in the evaluated extracts, while neither quinones nor alkaloids were detected. In the toxicity trial no important clinical symptoms, such as mortality, convulsions, or alterations of the heart or respiratory rate, appeared.
Conclusions: the phytochemical analysis of the M. alba varieties and hybrids showed abundant quantities of secondary metabolites described as antioxidant agents. The toxicity study conducted showed innocuousness of the aqueous extract in rats, for which these extracts suggest the presence of pharmacological properties for the treatment of many diseases associated to the oxidative stress.
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