Fruits of plants of Amelanchier genus (Amelanchier Medic) as source of biologically active substances and minerals

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Abstract


An interest in plants of Amelanchier genus is stimulated by the necessity of search for plant sources rich in biologically active substances and possessing the ability to influence different physiological processes in a human organism. The article gives information about places of growth of different species of Amelanchier (Amelanchier Medic) and about the fact that its fruits contain high concentration of free sugars, relatively low level of organic acids, sufficient amounts of various vitamins and provitamins and a complex of mineral substances. Nutritive and biological value of Amelanchier fruits in complex may produce a beneficial effect on different biochemical and physiological processes of normal vital activity of a human organism. The data are given about a positive influence of enteral introduction of polysaccharides isolated from Amelanchier fruits, on different physiological processes that enhance adaptational reserves of an organism of experimental animals. In particular, it was shown that watersoluble polysaccharide complex (WSPC) of Amelanchier fruits activates erythropoiesis increasing the amount of erythrocytes and hemoglobin in blood of experimental animals and raises concentration of iron. WSPC improves physical working capacity and increases the body mass of experimental animals. Addition of watersoluble polysaccharide complex of Amelanchier fruits to blood of a healthy donor increases thermal, osmotic and peroxide resistance of erythrocyte membranes thus protecting cells against damage under action of adverse factors in the experiment. Fruits of plants of Amelanchier genus may be recommended to be used as a food additive or a product in dietary and prophylactic therapy.


Full Text

Recently sciences of human health show a significant interest in plant sources of biologically active substances that activate immune-competent system, enhance adapta-tional reserves of an organism and its resistance to stress [1-7]. One of such sources may be fruits of genus Amelanchier plants (Amelanchier Medic).

Amelanchier (serviceberry) originates from the North America. There exist 25 species of the plant. In our country only one of them – Amelanchier ovalis Medic (А. vulgaris Moench) grows as a wildlife species [8-10]. Other kinds of Amelanchier were brought from the North America, the most common of them being Amelanchier spicata, Amelanchier canadensis, Amelanchier alnifolia [11-13].

Nowadays different kinds of this plant are growing over the entire European territory of the country, in Siberia, in the Urals, in the Volga region. Wildlife species can be encountered in the Crimea and Caucasus.

V.V. Korunchikova noted that the biochemical composition of fruits of all kinds of Amelanchier suggests their probable application for therapeutic purposes. This parameter is taken into account in the introduction of fruit plants into the production culture. As noted in literature [14-15], high concentration of polyphenols, presence of cumarins and β-sitosterols permits to refer fruits of this plant to perspective capillary-strengthening, anti-sclerotic, anti-inflammatory and choleretic drugs. They normalize metabolism, increase the tone of cardiac muscle. Most phenol compounds are antioxidants, some of them slowdown growth of malignant tumors [16,17]. Here, the ability of substances of Amelanchier fruits to reduce the tone of vessels and decrease blood pressure is also used. In peroral intake of Amelanchier fruits, normalization of capillary permeability in experimental animals was noted, increase in capillary elasticity, reduction in blood coagulability, which prevents formation of thrombi and reduces the probability of infarction. Some studies describe antihemorrhagic effect. The presence of betain in Amelanchier fruits produces an antiulce-rogenic effect, prevents fatty dystrophy of the liver and decreases the level of cholesterol in blood. The fruits are used in treatment of diseases of the liver, kidneys, joints, heart, stomach, of atherosclerosis and other diseases [18].

Our studies showed that enteral introduction of water-soluble polysaccharide complex of Amelanchier fruits into laboratory animals enhances erythropoiesis, the level of hemoglobin, iron-binding capacity of blood, optimizes electrolyte composition of plasma and raises physical working capacity of experimental animals [19-21]. Addition of water-soluble polysaccharide complex of Amelanchier fruits to blood of a healthy donor improves thermal, osmotic and peroxide resistance of erythrocyte membranes thus protecting cells against damage by adverse factors in the experiment [22].

To a large extent this variability of the effects of biologically active substances (BAS) of the plant fruits is associated with their biochemical composition (Table 1).

Here, variation in the concentration of BAS in Amelanchier fruits also depends on

the species of this plant (Table 2).

 

Table 1. Concentration of Biologically Active Substances in Amelanchier Fruits

Biologically Active Components

Concentration

Dry substances

24.05 – 28.05%

Ascorbic acid

20.3 – 32.3 mg%

Free sugars

9.43 – 12.31 %

Monosaccharides

9.06 – 12.17%

Anthocyanins

3.62-3.95%

*Pectin substances

1.5-3.7%

Organic acids

0.47-1.04%

Disaccharides

0.14 – 0.72%

Carotene

0.02- 0.06 мг%

*Tanning agents

0.33-0.84%

Note: *- according to the data of E.I. Yaroslavtsev [24]

 

Table 2. Accumulation of BAS in Fruits of Some Amelanchier Species

BAS

Ascorbic Acid, mg%

Anthocyanins, %

Carotene, mg%

Tanning Agents, %

Amelanchier spicata

32.3

3.95

0.06

0.84

Amelanchier alnifolia

27.0

3.89

0.03

0.4

Amelanchier utahensis

20.3

3.82

0.02

0.73

Amelanchier florida

24.2

3.79

0.02

0.44

Amelanchier ovalis

27.4

3.73

0.04

0.33

Amelanchier canadensis

25.6

3.62

0.03

0.42

 

 Selected forms of Amelanchier with round fruits contain more than 14.5% of sugars at acidity 0.5%, ascorbic acid – 16.0 mg%, P-reactive compounds – about 1500 mg% [23-24].

Concentration of dry substance in the Amelanchier fruits varies within 20-23%, concentration of sugars is within 8.4-10.2%, acidity 0.39-0.72%, concentration of pectins 0.24-0.95%, the sum of carotenes varies from 1.5 to 2.02 mg%, the content of anthocyanins reaches 840 mg/100 g of fresh weight [15].

It was noted that A. ovalis, the most common species in the central part of Russia, contains up to 23.0% of dry substances, up to 12.0% of free sugars, up to 0.84% of tannins and colorants, and up to 0.90% of organic acids recalculated for apple acid. There exist data in literature [25,19] about accumulation of sugars in Amelanchier fruits up to 14.0%, concentration of organic acids at the level of 0.45-0.60%, tanning agents and colorants 0.84-0.90%, pectins 0.5%.

In the fruits of A. ovalis the following kinds of sugars were identified: glucose, sac-charose, rhamnose, galactose, mannose and fructose.

According to some research, concentration of sugars in fruits of Amelanchier Medic varies depending on the kind of plant and its habitat. Concentrations of sugars in fruits of Amelanchier Medic depending on its habitat are given in Table 3.

 

Table 3. Concentration of Sugars in Fruits of Amelanchier Medic Depending on its Habitat

Habitat

Total Sugars

Moscow district

10.0-12.0%

Tambov district

10.0-12.0%

Kransnodar territory

10.0-12.0%

Krasnoyarsk territory

12.0-14.0%

Ukraine

9.43-12.31%

Belarus

9.67-11.19%

South-East regions of Russia

6.8-11.2%

Canada

10.0%

Kemerovo district

9.5%

 

 As follows from the given data, Amelanchier Medic in Moscow district, Tambov district, Kransnodar territory and Krasnoyarsk territory practically do not differ in sugar content [25,26]. Fruits grown in Canada, contained on average 10% of sugar and 7.0% of fructose. The least content of sugar was found in Amelanchier Medic growing in the south-east regions of Russia, Belarus, Kemerovo district.

Amelanchier fruits contain a high amount of tanning agents and colorants. According to E.I. Yaroslavtsev and S.B. Vasi-lyeva, ripe fruits of different species may accumulate up to 0.9% of tanning agents and colorants [27,23], and according to E.I. Kolbasina, fruits of Amelanchier ovalis contain only 0.33% of these substances [28]. These variations may be explained by different meteorological conditions in the habitats of plants and are also likely to depend on species differences.

The presence of vitamins С, Р, Е, А, РР, Р (rutin), several group B vitamins, carotene permits to consider Amelanchier Medic a polyvitamin plant.

Content of vitamin C in fruits of hybrid seedlings of Amelanchier ovalis ranges from 9.0 to 26.4 mg%, and that of P-reactive catechines in certain samples reaches 424 mg per 100 g of fruits [24].

According to S.A. Streltsyna, concentration of ascorbic acid in Amelanchier alnifolia growing in the suburbs of Saint-Petersburg is 25.0-43.3 mg%. Approximately the same amount of ascorbic acid was found in Amelanchier growing in Canada and the south of Ukraine [15].

Selected forms of Amelanchier with large-sized fruits contain 16.0 mg% of ascorbic acid and about 1500 mg% of P-active compounds [25].

Amelanchier fruits are most rich in vitamin P (bioflavonoids). Thus, studies of scientists show that Amelanchier fruits accumulate 737.1-2041.1 mg%, and sometimes 5000 mg% of the total anthocyanins and leucoanthocyanins [28], 143.2-403.3 mg% of flavonols in quercetin equivalent, 117.3-340.0 mg% of chlorogenic acids. Amelanchier is poorer in catechines with their quantity in its fruits 64.1-163.3 mg% [15]. Amelanchier  fruits were found to contain 234.9-373.8 mg% of triterpene acids (in ursolic acid equivalent), most rich in these substances are Amelanchier canadensis and Amelanchier alnifolia [14,15,26,30]. Variability of chemical composition determining the quality of the fruits is mentioned in the literature [31]. According to some authors [31], the content of anthocyanins in Amelanchier fruits in conditions of Moscow district was 500-1600 mg%, of flavonoids – 50-155 mg%, and of catechines – 150-200 mg%.

Research of T.V. Huzhnaya [32] and our research [33] showed that fruits of Amelanchier Medic contain a sufficiently rich composition of macro- and miсroelements (compounds of potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese, zinc, boron, small amounts of copper and cobalt).

Thus, analysis of biochemical composition of fruits of Amelanchier Medic evidences:

  • high concentration of free sugars and low level of organic acids;
  • sufficient quantity of vitamin C, bioflavonoids and carotene that makes this plant a natural source of some vitamins;
  • the presence of a complex of biologically active substances and mineral elements that indicates a high nutritive and biological value of the fruits required for normal vital activity of an organism.

Literature data, as well as data received by our study permit to state that Amelanchier fruits are a balanced plant source of biologically active substances including some vitamins and mineral substances which in complex may produce a beneficial effect on different biochemical and physiological processes. In view of the given data Amelanchier fruits may be recommended as a food additive or a product for dietary and prophylactic therapy.

About the authors

Elena A. Laksaeva

Ryazan State Medical University

Author for correspondence.
Email: elenalaksaeva@mail.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4477-5812
SPIN-code: 4297-0617

Russian Federation, 9, Vysokovoltnaja str., Ryazan, 390026

PhD in Biological sciences, Associate Professor of General and Pharmaceutical Chemistry

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