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Chinese Antique Lotus: Not Only Ornamental Plant
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Lotus (Nelumbo) is an important aquatic ornamental plant, with high edible and medicinal value. It has been cultivated for more than 3000 years in China. Antique Lotus is a special group in lotus. It is formed by the germination of ancient lotus seeds, which had been buried underground for hundreds or even thousands of years. With the unique historical and cultural significance, Antique Lotus is favored by people around the world, but little research remains on its economic value.

Recently, Prof. WANG Liangsheng’s group from the Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), compared the antioxidant activity of different parts extracts in seven Antique Lotus. They identified the parts with the greatest economic development potential and then analyzed their polyphenols components by UPLC-TQ-MS.

Researchers found that lotus seedpods had significantly higher antioxidant capacity than other parts by FRAP, ABTS, and ORAC assays, which closely related to their total polyphenol content. And the seedpods were rich in proanthocyanidins and flavonols.

They identified 51 polyphenols by UPLC-TQ-MS analysis in this study. Among them, 27 compounds were identified from lotus seedpods for the first time, including 20 trimers, 5 dimers and 2 tetramers of proanthocyanidins.

Moreover, researchers found that total proanthocyanidins explained 70%–90% of the different antioxidant activities in seedpods. Meanwhile, the content of proanthocyanidin trimers showed the strongest correlations with the antioxidant activity.

Researchers also found that the seedpods of Nelumbo nucifera ‘Pulandian Antique’ had the highest content of total polyphenols and the best antioxidant activity. It demonstrated advantages in the commercial development of products.

“This study provided a fundamental reference for the research of polyphenols in lotus. Such findings further confirmed the antioxidant activity of lotus seedpod extracts which have the promising prospects of application as food and feed additives,” said Prof. WANG Liangsheng, the correspondent author.

The results have been published on Food Chemistry entitled "Analysis of proanthocyanidins and flavonols in the seedpods of Chinese Antique Lotus: A rich source of antioxidants."


The different parts of Antique Lotus. (Image by WANG Xiaohan)

Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem.2023.135756
WANG Liangsheng
Institute of Botany, the Chinese Academy of Sciences
Email: wanglsh@ibcas.ac.cn

  • https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem.2023.135756
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