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Growth and accumulation of caffeic acid derivatives in Echinacea angustifolia DC. var. angustifolia grown in hydroponic culture

Maggini, Rita, Tozzini, Letizia, Pacifici, Silvia, Raffaelli, Andrea, Pardossi, Alberto
Industrial crops and products 2012 v.35 no.1 pp. 269-273
Echinacea angustifolia, caffeic acid, caftaric acid, chlorogenic acid, detection limit, ferulic acid, greenhouses, hydroponics, inflorescences, leaves, p-coumaric acid, planting, root growth, roots, seedlings, sowing
In separate experiments conducted in 2007 and 2008, growth and accumulation of selected caffeic acid derivatives (CADs; i.e., caftaric acid, chlorogenic acid, echinacoside, caffeic acid, cynarin, p-coumaric acid, ferulic acid and cichoric acid) were determined in Echinacea angustifolia DC. var. angustifolia seedlings grown in hydroponic culture (floating raft system) at a density of 122 plantm⁻² (at planting). Plants were harvested 11 (2007) or 16 (2008) weeks after transplanting (i.e., 15 or 20weeks after sowing). In both years, plants grew vigorously and at harvest approximately half of the plants under observation had developed one to three inflorescences. In 2008, the root yield (2940kgha⁻¹) harvested in nearly eight months from two consecutive hydroponic cultures was within the yield reported in the literature for field cultivations lasting two to four years. None of the selected CADs was found in the leaves, while the inflorescences (stem and capitulum) contained only caftaric acid and echinacoside at concentrations higher than the detection limits (0.05mgg⁻¹ dry weight). Echinacoside, cynarin and chlorogenic acid were found in root tissues at concentrations ranging from 0.36 to 5.25mgg⁻¹ dry weight. In all plant samples, echinacoside, which is the marker compound for E. angustifolia material, did not reach the minimum quality standard (10mgg⁻¹ dry weight) for the production of standardized extract. We concluded that short-cycle, high-density greenhouse hydroponic culture stimulates plant growth and root production in E. angustifolia, but it does not ensure sufficient CADs accumulation in dried roots.