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Lipophilic phytochemicals from elderberries (Sambucus nigra L.): Influence of ripening, cultivar and season

Salvador, Ângelo C., Rocha, Sílvia M., Silvestre, Armando J.D.
Industrial crops and products 2015 v.71 pp. 15-23
Sambucus nigra, chemical composition, cultivars, elderberries, fatty acids, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, harvest date, phytopharmaceuticals, ripening, sterols, triterpenoids, wastes
The chemical composition of the lipophilic extracts of three Portuguese elderberries cultivars belonging to the Sambucus nigra L. species (‘Bastardeira’, ‘Sabugueira’ and ‘Sabugueiro’), was studied by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. The influence of the harvesting season (2012 and 2013), cultivar and the ripening stage was evaluated. Regarding the amount of lipophilic extractives, they ranged from 0.56% to 1.84% of the dry weight. The major chemical families present in these fractions were triterpenoids and fatty acids accounting with 84.9–93.8% and 4.3–11.4% of the total amount of lipophilic components, respectively. The most abundant compounds, identified as elderberries components were ursolic and oleanolic acids, followed by smaller amounts of long chain aliphatic alcohols and sterols. During ripening, a similar profile of the studied chemical families was found for the two sampling seasons and the three cultivars, with an initial growth of their content followed by a systematic decrease until maturity, yet, a higher lipophilic content (p<0.05) is reported for the 2013 harvest. Regarding mature elderberries, ‘Sabugueira’ and ‘Bastardeira’ showed higher contents of lipophilics, and particularly of triterpenic acids (p<0.05), for the two sampling years. In-depth study of elderberries, lipophilic extractives can contribute to the valuation of this natural product, being in this study highlighted the profile of these bioactive compounds, as well, the parameters that affect their content. Additionally, since considerable amounts of unripe and overripe elderberries are produced on harvesting, and that our results showed considerable amounts of lipophilics for both ripening stages, this highlights that these wastes can be seen as a promising sources for the preparation of lipophilic extracts enriched in bioactive compounds.