ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202303.0538.v2
Subject: Chemistry And Materials Science, Medicinal Chemistry Keywords: chicory; sesquiterpene lactones; 11,13-dihydrolactucin; lactucin; plant extraction; semi-synthesis of analytical standards
Online: 3 April 2023 (03:09:48 CEST)
Sesquiterpene lactones (STLs) are a large group of terpenoids most commonly found in plants of the Asteraceae family, e. g. in chicory plants, displaying a wide range of interesting biological activities. However, further studies on the biological potential of chicory derived STLs and analogues are challenging as only four of these molecules are commercially available (as analytical standards), and to date there are no published or patented simple extraction-purification processes capable of large scale STLs isolation. In this work we describe a novel three-step large scale extraction and purification method for the simultaneous purification of 11,13-dihydrolactucin (DHLc) and lactucin (Lc) starting from a chicory genotype rich in these STLs and in the corresponding glycosyl and oxalyl conjugated forms. After a small-scale screening on 100 mg of freeze-dried chicory root powder, the best results were achieved with a 17 h water maceration at 30°C. With these conditions we managed to increase the content of DHLc and Lc, at the same time favouring the hydrolysis of their conjugated forms. On a larger scale, the extraction of 750 g of freeze-dried chicory root powder, followed by a liquid-liquid extraction step and a reversed-phase chromatography, allowed the recovery of 642.3 ± 76.3 mg of DHLc and 175.3 ± 32.9 mg of Lc. The two pure STLs were subsequently used in the context of semi-synthesis to generate analogues for biological evaluation as antibacterial agents. In addition, other described chicory STLs that are not commercially available were also synthesized or extracted to serve as analytical standards for the study. In particular, lactucin-oxalate and 11,13-dihydrolactucin-oxalate were synthesized in two steps starting from Lc and DHLc, respectively. On the other hand, 11β,13-dihydrolactucin-glycoside was obtained after a MeOH/H2O (70/30) extraction, followed by a liquid-liquid extraction step and a reversed-phase chromatography. Together, this work will help facilitate the evaluation of the biological potential of chicory derived STLs and their semisynthetic analogues.