Therapeutic propensities, phytochemical composition, and toxicological evaluation of Anagallis arvensis (L.): A wild edible medicinal food plant

Hammad Saleem, Gokhan Zengin, Irshad Ahmad, Thet Thet Htar, Rakesh Naidu, Mohamad Fawzi Mahomoodally, Nafees Ahemad

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Anagallis arvensis (L.) is a wild edible food plant that has been used in folklore as a natural remedy for treating common ailments. This study aimed to explore the biochemical properties and toxicity of methanol (MeOH) and dichloromethane (DCM) extracts of A. arvensis (aerial and root parts). Bioactive contents were assessed spectrophotometrically, and the secondary metabolites were identified by UHPLC-MS analysis. DPPH, ABTS, FRAP, CUPRAC, phosphomolybdenum, and metal chelating assays were employed to assess antioxidant activity. Inhibitory potential against key enzymes (α-glucosidase, urease, lipoxygenase (LOX), acetylcholinesterase (AChE), and butyrylcholinesterase (BChE)) were also assessed. MTT assay was employed to test toxicity against SW-480, MDA-MB-231, CaSki, MCF-7, and DU-145 cancer cell lines. Methanolic extracts showed highest phenolic (aerial-MeOH: 27.5 mg GAE/g extract; root-MeOH: 21.17 mg GAE/g extract) and flavonoid (aerial-MeOH: 26.15 mg QE/g extract; root-MeOH: 19.07 mg QE/g extract) contents, and potent antioxidant activities. The aerial-MeOH extract was most potent for DPPH (IC50: 231 ug/mL), ABTS (131.12 mg TE/g extract), FRAP (82.97 mg TE/g extract), and CUPRAC (137.15 mg TE/g extract) antioxidant assays. All extracts were cytotoxic towards tested cancer cells with IC50 values ranging from 12.57 to 294.5 µg/mL and conferred a comparatively strong inhibition against α-glucosidase (aerial-DCM extract showed the highest inhibition against α-glucosidase with IC50 value of 20.97 µg /mL), while aerial extracts were also considerably active against BChE (aerial-MeOH IC50: 224.63 µg /mL), LOX (aerial-DCM IC50: 385.7 µg /mL). Likewise, aerial-MeOH extract was most active against urease enzyme (IC50: 129.72 µg /mL). UHPLC-MS investigation of methanolic extracts showed the existence of important phenolics, flavonoids, and saponins, including methyl gallte, quercetin, lanceoletin, and balanitesin, amongst others. Moreover, principal component analysis (PCA) highlighted the correlation amongst bioactive contents and observed biological activities. A. arvensis extracts could be regarded as a natural source of bioactive antioxidants, enzyme inhibitors and anticancer agents and can be further investigated as a lead source for food and pharmaceutical products. However, further studies to isolate, purify, and to characterize its bioactive phytochemicals are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109651
Number of pages9
JournalFood Research International
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • Anagallis arvensis
  • Antioxidant
  • Cytotoxicity
  • Enzyme inhibition
  • Medicinal plant
  • Phytochemicals

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