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Optimum Yields of Dibenzylbutyrolactone-type Lignans from Cynareae Fruits, During their Ripening, Germination and Enzymatic Hydrolysis Processes, Determined by On-line Chromatographic Methods


I. Boldizsár, Department of Plant Anatomy, Institute of Biology, Eötvös Loránd University, Pázmány Péter sétány 1/C, Budapest 1117, Hungary. E-mail:



Dibenzylbutyrolactone-type lignans are the physiologically active constituents of the achene fruits of Cynareae. These lignans occur in glycoside/aglycone forms: in the highest quantity of the arctiin/arctigenin, matairesinoside/matairesinol and tracheloside/trachelogenin pairs found in the fruits of Arctium lappa L., Centaurea scabiosa L. and Cirsium arvense (L.) Scop.


To optimise the extraction yield of the arctiin/arctigenin, matairesinoside/matairesinol and tracheloside/trachelogenin glycoside/aglycone pairs, from the fruits of Arctium lappa, Centaurea scabiosa and Cirsium arvense, under the ripening, germination and enzymatic hydrolysis processes of the fruits.


Identification and quantification of lignans were performed with on-line gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and with high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), both with UV and mass selective detections (HPLC-UV/MS).


As novelties to the field it was confirmed that: (i) the unripe fruits provide a high amount of lignans, similar to the ripe fruit; (ii) the fruits of Arctium lappa and Cirsium arvense do have glycosidase activity to hydrolyse their lignan glycosides into free lignans; (iii) the glycosidase of Centaurea scabiosa fruit becomes activated under its germination process only; and (iv) the overwhelming part of the fruits lignan contents (80–94%) in all three species are accumulated in the embryo.


The best sources of (i) lignan aglycones are the enzyme-hydrolysed embryos, separating spontaneously during the germination process, and (ii) lignan glycosides are the unripe fruits. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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