Vanya Koleva, Teodora Koynova, Asya Dragoeva and Nikolay Natchev
Anthropogenic activities cause environmental pollution and alter biogeochemical cycles. Soils in cities and their vicinity are exposed to different pollutants. Nature Park Shumen Plateau is a protected area situated in the proximity of Shumen (Bulgaria). The aim of this research was to compare elemental composition of surface soil samples from Nature Park with two areas in Shumen city.
Soil samples from seven sites on the territory of Nature Park and from two urban sites were collected. The elemental composition of the samples was determined using Energy Dispersive X-Ray Fluorescence technique. Principal component analysis and cluster analysis were performed to interpret the complex data.
The content of 24 elements was determined: Br, Y, Zr, Mo, Ag, Cd, Sn, Sb, I, Cs, Ba, La, Ce Si, K, Ca, Ti, Mn, Fe, Cu, Zn, Rb, Sr, and Pb. Results presented here and previously showed that concentrations of heavy metals Cu, Zn, Cd and Pb are below the upper limit according to Bulgarian legislation. Concentrations of Mn and Fe in samples from Nature Park were comparable to the literature data reported for unpolluted areas. Principal component analysis and cluster analysis show similarity of the content of 24 elements between samples from Nature Park and from Shumen city. These findings are in accordance with our previous positive results from Allium-test: cytogenetic endpoints showed a presence of harmful compounds in Nature Park soils.
The content of heavy metals in the surface soils studied show a lack of environmental risk for Nature Park. However, a similar distribution pattern of the investigated elements in the park and two anthropologically influenced areas in Shumen city indicated a potential hazard in Nature Park.
Asya Dragoeva, Zheni Stoyanova, Vanya Koleva and Daniela Dragolova
Nepeta nuda subsp. nuda is a medicinal plant growing wild in Bulgaria. Different species of Nepeta genus have been reported to possess allelopathic potential. The present study was conducted to observe its phytotoxic effects on T. aestivum and C. sativus L. seeds in laboratory conditions. Nepeta water extracts (NWE) prepared from aerial parts of plants at concentrations 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 14 g/l were tested. The rate of seed germination, the root and shoot length, fresh and dry weight of seedlings were observed after treatment with NWE. As a control served seeds treated with distilled water. Germination was not affected, but NWE showed deterioration in seedling growth. Roots were more affected than shoots. The fresh and dry weights were reduced upon treatment with the extracts tested. These negative effects were dose-dependent. The overall results indicate presence of water soluble allelochemicals in Nepeta nuda subsp. nuda.
Zheni Nanova, Asya Dragoeva, Vanya Koleva, Nesho Chipev, Borislav Georgiev, Irina Yotova and Milen Ivanov
In contemporary society various demographic factors lead to changes of people habits to use medicinal plants. A matter of interest is to establish how specific demographic features of people influence the use of herbs. The present survey aimed at determining the current trends regarding the use of four valuable medicinal Lamiaceae species in Bulgaria: thyme, mint, lemon balm and oregano. In the survey, 220 people were interviewed. Demographic profiles of the respondents were evaluated. Then the participants were questioned for the following item: “Do you use any of these herbs: thyme, mint, lemon balm and oregano.” In order to disclose correlations between demographic features of the participants and their answers cross-relationships were analyzed. The majority of respondents reported to use these plants. Mint and thyme were more commonly used herbs. We identified that age of respondents had sufficient influence on the answer to the questionary. Level of education and living regions had moderate impact on the use of relatively lesser utilized herbs – oregano and lemon balm. The analysis showed the persistence of traditional knowledge for these plants. At the same time, the results revealed better knowledge on medicinal plants in groups of better educated people and in urban population.
Vanya Koleva, Asya Dragoeva, Zheni Stoyanova, Zhenia Yordanova, Selime Ali, Nikolay M. Uzunov, Laura Melendez-Alafort, Antonio Rosato and Dobromir D. Enchev
Medicinal plants produce various secondary metabolites as a part of their chemical defence and survival in nature. These compounds have a wide range of biological activities. Nowadays, medicinal plants are used as source of allelochemicals and new effective anticancer agents. Our previous studies revealed allelopathic potential of water extracts of Adonis vernalis L. (Ranunculaceae), Origanum vulgare ssp. vulgare L. and Nepeta nuda subsp. nuda (Lamiaceae). Present study aimed to evaluate the effect of the same extracts in vitro on human hepatoma cell line SK-HEP-1. Cell proliferation/viability was assessed using Premixed WST-1 Cell Proliferation Reagent.
Adonis water extract (1.83mg/ml) had notable negative influence on cancer cell line tested. Oregano (3.5 mg/ml) also exerted negative effect, but to a lesser degree. On the contrary, nepeta water extract (6.59 mg/ml) had an opposite effect, stimulating cell proliferation. One possible explanation could be the type of extraction: after treatment with nepeta methanol extract (6.59 mg/ml) cell viability was significantly reduced.
In conclusion, Adonis vernalis and Nepeta nuda subsp. nuda possess metabolites with growth inhibitory effect on human hepatoma cell line SK-HEP-1. Further research is needed to clarify biological activity of lower concentrations which are appropriate to enable the design of new anticancer drugs.