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Universidade do Algarve (2019)

Unravelling the biotechnological potential of halophyte species from the Algarve coast

Rodrigues, Maria João da Silva

Titre : Unravelling the biotechnological potential of halophyte species from the Algarve coast

Auteur : Rodrigues, Maria João da Silva

Université de soutenance : Universidade do Algarve

Grade : Doutoramento em Ciências do Mar, da Terra e do Ambiente 2019

This work explored the potential of halophyte plants from the Algarve coast as sources of bioactive compounds with biotechnological applications in the pharmaceutical, food and cosmetic areas. Halophytes are salt-tolerant plants that survive in extreme environments and are equipped with powerful defence mechanisms to manage environmental stress, including the production of bioactive molecules. Despite their enormous potential, halophytes are still quite underexplored regarding their biotechnological applications. This study focused on Frankenia laevis L. (sea-heath), Halopeplis amplexicaulis (Vahl) Ces., Pass. & Gibelli, Juncus acutus L. (spiny rush), J. inflexus L. (wire rush), J. maritimus L. (seaside rush), Limonium algarvense Erben (sea lavender), and Polygonum maritimum L. (sea knotgrass). Methanol and dichloromethane extracts from different plant organs were prepared, evaluated for in vitro antioxidant, antidiabetic, anti-hyperpigmentation and neuroprotective activities, and chemically characterized. Sea lavender and sea knotgrass were selected for their high in vitro antioxidant, neuroprotective, anti-hyperpigmentation and antidiabetic properties, and Juncus species for their in vitro antioxidant and neuroprotective capacities. Sea lavender and sea knotgrass had a high phenolics content, presenting a broad diversity of phenolic acids and flavonoids, respectively. The sea knotgrass had the highest in vitro antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, neuroprotective and anti-hyperpigmentation properties, closely followed by the sea lavender. Hence, sea lavender and sea knotgrass were selected for experimental production in a greenhouse using different irrigation salinities ; freshwater-irrigated plants had the best growth performance and biological properties. Juncunol, a compound isolated from the spiny rush, had in vitro neuroprotective properties, as well as apoptosis-inducing capacity towards hepatocellular carcinoma cells. In conclusion, the halophytes sea lavender, sea knotgrass and spiny rush can be useful sources of bioactive molecules that can potentially help to prevent oxidative stress-related diseases, delay neurodegeneration and hyperpigmentation. The spiny rush is also a promising source of compounds, namely juncunol, with in vitro antihepatocellular carcinoma activ


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