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Altitudinal Variation of Phenolic Contents in Flowering Heads of Arnica montana cv. ARBO: a 3-Year Comparison

Spitaler, Renate, Winkler, Andrea, Lins, Isabella, Yanar, Sema, Stuppner, Hermann, Zidorn, Christian
Journal of chemical ecology 2008 v.34 no.3 pp. 369-375
chemical composition, caffeic acid, flowers, free radical scavengers, seasonal variation, Arnica montana, flavonoids, chemical constituents of plants, altitude, antioxidant activity, Austria
In continuation of our studies of altitudinal effects on secondary metabolite profile of flowering heads from taxa of the Asteraceae, we investigated phenolic contents and radical scavenging potential from cultivated plants of Arnica montana cv. ARBO during the growing seasons 2003, 2004, and 2005. By conducting experiments on potted plants, we excluded that differences in phenolic contents from plants grown at different altitudes were related primarily to differences in soil composition at these sites. To assess altitudinal and interseasonal variation, plants of A. montana cultivar ARBO were grown in nine experimental plots at altitudes between 590 and 2,230 m at Mount Patscherkofel near Innsbruck, Austria. In all growing seasons and regardless of the soil the plants were grown in, the proportion of flavonoids with vicinal-free hydroxy groups in ring B to flavonoids lacking this feature, and the total amount of caffeic acid derivatives, significantly increased with elevation. These increases of antioxidant phenolics corresponded to an increase of the radical scavenging potential of extracts from plants grown at different altitudes. The results are discussed in regard to previous studies that suggest that enhanced UV-B radiation and decreased temperatures trigger augmented biosynthesis of UV-absorbing and antioxidant phenolics in higher plants.