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Open access

Katarzyna Bączek, Olga Kosakowska, Jarosław L. Przybył, Paula Kuźma, Marcin Ejdys, Mieczysław Obiedziński and Zenon Węglarz

Summary

The aim of study was to determine the variability of 20 yarrow populations introduced into ex situ conditions, in respect of selected developmental traits as well as content and composition of biologically active compounds (essential oil, tannins, flavonoids and phenolic acids). Field experiment was established at the Experimental Station, Department of Vegetable and Medicinal Plants. Morphological observations and harvest of raw material were carried out in the second year of plant vegetation, at the beginning of blooming. Investigated populations differed significantly in respect of developmental features as well as content and composition of identified compounds. The highest differences among the populations concerned fresh mass of herb (0.46–1.79 kg per plant), number of shoots per m2 (64–243) and length of the longest internode (42–158 mm). Total content of essential oil ranged from 0.10 to 1.00%. Among 24 identified compounds β-pinene, 1,8-cineole, terpinene-4-ol, nerolidol and chamazulene were the dominants. According to content of these compounds, three chemotypes were distinguished within investigated populations, i.e.: β-pinene, β-pinene + chamazulene and 1,8-cineole type. Content of tannins ranged from 0.38 to 0.90%. Four flavonoids were identified and apigenin 7-glucoside was present in the highest amount (from 9.87 to 475.21 mg × 100 g−1), while the highest differences between populations concerned the content of luteolin-3',7-diglucoside. Within phenolic acids, three compounds (caffeic acid derivatives) were identified. Rosmarinic acid was the dominant one (75.64–660.54 mg × 100 g−1), while cichoric acid differentiated investigated populations the most.

Open access

Katarzyna Bączek, Mirosław Angielczyk, Jarosław L. Przybył, Marcin Ejdys, Anna Geszprych and Zenon Węglarz

Summary

Southern sweet-grass (Hierochloë australis /Schrad./ Roem. & Schult., Poaceae), commonly known as a bison grass, is a perennial tuft grass rarely occurring in mixed forests in Eastern and Northern Europe. The raw material collected from this plant are leaves rich in coumarin compounds (especially coumarin) responsible for sweet, specific aroma of these organs. In Poland, southern sweet-grass leaves are used mainly for alcohol products aromatisation. Growing demand for the raw material results in uncontrolled and excessive collecting of this plant. The best way to solve this problem is to introduce this plant into cultivation. Since southern sweet-grass is allogamous and heterozigotic, strong intraspecific variability of the species is observed. Fourteen clones of selected individuals from one population of southern sweet-grass naturally occurring in East Poland were compared in respect of morphological traits as well as accumulation of biologically active compounds. The clones differed significantly in the weight of leaves (3.76-22.59 g of air-dry weight per plant). The total coumarin content (determined by a spectrophotometric method) in this raw material for investigated clones ranged from 1.49 to 1.94%, flavonoids - from 0.25 to 0.55%, and phenolic acids - from 0.20 to 0.42%. Three coumarin compounds were identified by HPLC, namely coumarin, 3,4-dihydrocoumarin, and o-coumaric acid. The content of coumarin ranged from 84.00 to 310.85, 3,4-dihydrocoumarin: from 17.80 to 168.45, and o-coumaric acid: from 37.50 to 70.00 mg · 100 g-1 dry matter.

Open access

Katarzyna Bączek, Mirosław Angielczyk, Jarosław L. Przybył, Olga Kosakowska, Marcin Ejdys and Zenon Węglarz

Summary

Southern sweet-grass is a perennial grass distributed through north-eastern Europe. In Poland, this rare, partially protected plant grows wild in well-lit coniferous or mixed forests. Its leaves, rich in coumarin compounds, are used for aromatization of alcohols. Taking into account high demand on this raw material and decrease in the number of southern sweet-grass populations it is recommended to introduce the plant into cultivation systems. In this study 12 populations of southern sweet-grass were selected and assessed in terms of their cultivation usefulness. The presence of associated plant species growing on its natural sites was investigated as well as light irradiance on those stands. The species was found in 3 types of forest communities. Air dry mass of leaves per plant varied in analyzed populations from 1.73 to 11.07 g. They were significantly diversified in the total content of coumarins (0.36–0.96%), flavonoids (0.09–0.26%) and polyphenolic acids (0.13–0.29%). The diversity concerning the content of coumarin, a quality indicator of leaves, was even higher. The content of this compound varied from 52.03 to 275.74 mg/100 g d. m. Among the analyzed populations, the most interesting seem to be population No. 12 (Jedwabno) and population No. 10 (Ruciane) characterized with relatively high mass of leaves and the highest content of the identified active compounds, including coumarin.