Patterns of accumulation of berberine alkaloid and chemical profiling of natural populations of Coscinium fenestratum (Menispermaceae) in the Central Western Ghats, India
Berberine and its derivatives are being pursued as a new class of anti-diabetic medication world over. Coscinium fenestratum, a dioecious woody liana, is a rich source of berberine. With no other synthetic sources and huge industrial demand, natural populations of C. fenestratum are being rampantly harvested from the Western Ghats of India, making the species ‘critically endangered'. Prospecting for high berberine yielding individuals from different populations of C. fenstratum is a prerequisite to clonally mass-multiply and/or to develop in vitro production systems, thereby reducing the pressure on natural populations. Towards this end, the present study was carried out to chemically profile natural populations distributed in the Western Ghats and to determine the pattern of accumulation of berberine with respect to age, tissues, and sex. A total of 90 individual lianas were subjected to the chemical analysis. The concentration of berberine in methanol extract was determined using a C-18 reverse phase column with UV detection at 344 nm. Berberine content varied significantly with respect to the tissue, and sex of the individuals. The average berberine content irrespective of age, sex and tissues ranged between 0.64 to 3.01 %. Out of 45 adult individuals, 18 individuals yielded more than 5 % of berberine in the root samples. Further, the herbivore attack resulted in a significant increase in berberine content of leaves. These results hold an important implications to identify ‘chemical hot-spots’ of berberine.
Berberine; Chemical diversity; Coscinium fenestratum; HPLC; Western Ghats.
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