Maritime halophyte species from southern Portugal as sources of bioactive molecules

Maria João Rodrigues, Katkam N. Gangadhar, Catarina Vizetto-Duarte, Sileshi G. Wubshet, Nils T. Nyberg, Luísa Barreira, João Varela, Luísa Custódio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


Extracts of five halophytes from southern Portugal (Arthrocnemum macrostachyum, Mesembryanthemum edule, Juncus acutus, Plantago coronopus and Halimione portulacoides), were studied for antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and in vitro antitumor properties. The most active extracts towards the 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical were the methanol extracts of M. edule (IC50 = 0.1 mg/mL) and J. acutus (IC50 = 0.4 mg/mL), and the ether extracts of J. acutus (IC50 = 0.2 mg/mL) and A. macrostachyum (IC50 = 0.3 mg/mL). The highest radical scavenging activity (RSA) against the 2,2′-azino-bis (3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6- sulphonic acid) (ABTS) radical was obtained in the ether extract of J. acutus (IC50 = 0.4 mg/mL) and H. portulacoides (IC50 = 0.9 mg/mL). The maximum total phenolic content (TPC) was found in the methanol extract of M. edule (147 mg gallic acid equivalents (GAE)/g) and in the ether extract of J. acutus (94 mg GAE/g). Significant decreases in nitric oxide (NO) production were observed after incubation of macrophages with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and the chloroform extract of H. portulacoides (IC50 = 109 μg/mL) and the hexane extract of P. coronopus (IC50 = 98.0 μg/mL). High in vitro cytotoxic activity and selectivity was obtained with the ether extract of J. acutus. Juncunol was identified as the active compound and for the first time was shown to display selective in vitro cytotoxicity towards various human cancer cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2228-2244
Number of pages17
JournalMarine Drugs
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antioxidant
  • Cytotoxicity
  • Halophytes
  • Juncunol
  • Juncus acutus


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