Anti-acetylcholinesterase potential and metabolome classification of 4 Ocimum species as determined via UPLC/qTOF/MS and chemometric tools

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© 2016 Elsevier B.V.. Ocimum (sweet basil) is a plant of considerable commercial importance in traditional medicine worldwide as well as for the flavor and food industry. The goal of this study was to examine Ocimum extracts anti-acetylcholinesterase activity and to correlate the activity with their secondary metabolites profiles via a metabolome based ultraperformance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS) approach coupled to chemometrics. The metabolomic differences in phenolics from leaves derived from 4 Ocimum species: Ocimum basilicum, Ocimum africanum, Ocimum americanum and Ocimum minimum were assessed. Under optimized conditions, 81 metabolites were identified including 21 hydroxy cinnamic acids, 4 benzoic acid conjugates, 14C/O flavonoid conjugates, 2 alcohols, 5 acyl sugars, 4 triterpenes and 12 fatty acids. Several salviolanic acid derivatives including salviolanic acid A, B, C & I found in Salvia, were found in Ocimum herein for the first time. Unsupervised principal component analysis (PCA) and supervised orthogonal projection to latent structures-discriminant analysis (OPLS-DA) were further used for comparing and classification of samples. A clear separation among the four investigated Ocimum species was revealed, with O. africanum samples found most enriched in hydroxy cinnamates conjugates (HC) and flavonoids. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report for compositional differences among Ocimum leaves via a metabolomic approach revealing that among examined species O. africanum leaves present a better source of Ocimum bioactive metabolites. The anticholinesrase activity of examined species was further assessed with a potent IC50 values for O. americanum, O. africanum, O. basilicum ranging from 2.5 to 6.6 mg/ml, whereas O. minimum was least active with IC50 of 31.4 mg/ml. Furthermore, major HC i.e., caftaric, chlorogenic and rosmarinic acids identified in extracts via UPLC-MS analysis exhibited IC50 values of 24, 0.5 and 7.9 mg/ml respectively, suggesting that HCs are likely to mediate for the anticholinesterase effect in Ocimum extracts.

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