BACKGROUND: Leaves of Lycium chinense L. are widely used in traditional Chinese medicine and as functional food in China and south-east Asia. Polyphenols are important active compounds in leaves of L. chinense L, but their compositions are still not very clear. Selenium has been reported to increase some components of plants. In this study, the composition of polyphenols of L. chinense leaves were analysed, and the effects of selenium on the polyphenols and other components were studied.
RESULTS: The main polyphenols were identified as rutin, chlorogenic acid, quercetin, kaempferol and apigenin-7-O-(6′-O-acetyl) glucose-rhamnose. Chlorogenic acid showed the highest average content of 78.36 g kg−1. Rutin, quercetin and kaempferol were determined at low contents from 3.85 g kg−1 to 7.08 g kg−1. Correlation coefficients between selenium and chlorogenic acid, chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b and carotenoids were: R2 = 0.963 (P = 0.002), 0.943 (P = 0.005), 0.957 (P = 0.003) and 0.943 (P = 0.005), respectively. Selenium (0.01–0.05 g kg−1) significantly increased chlorogenic acid, chlorophyll and carotenoids by 200–400% and reduced rutin by 400–900%.
CONCLUSION: L. chinense can be an alternative source of chlorogenic acid. Selenium significantly increased chlorogenic acid, chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b and carotenoids, hence increasing the medicinal value of L. chinense leaves. Rutin, quercetin, kaempferol and apigenin-7-O-(6′-O-acetyl) glucose-rhamnose proved to be not significantly influenced by selenium. Copyright © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry