Июл 20 2000

The Influence Of The Traffic Arteries Closeness 

Опубликовано в 12:25 в категории Симпозиум

The influence of the Traffic arteries closeness 

on Chemical composition of medicinal Plants

Wierzchowska-Renke K.

Dept. Biology and Pharm. Bot., Medical University, Hallera 107,

 80-416 Gdańsk, Poland,

Although plants along highways are exposed to different concentrations of pollutans  (dusts, salt spray, acid rains, heavy metals, radionuclids) they still manage to survive, sometimes without much damage (1). Due to the action of acid rains on heavy metals dust entering  soil as a result of deposition from the atmosphere, soluble compounds of these metals are formed. These metals are then more easily assimilated by plants (cultivated and medicinal). Contaminated plants may be used not only for alimentary, but in medicine as well.

The pharmacological effect of plants depends of the contents of active bodies as polyphenols (coumarins, flavonoids,  tannins) and it is  fortified by elements. Synthesis of biologically active compounds in plants is performed optimally only if the concentrations and proportions of bioelements in organisms and environment are adequate. The information about pollutans’ influence on the content of biologically active compounds in the medicinal plants is sufficient, because the recent interest to phytotherapy provokes questions about the use of herbal drugs of high quality with precise strenght of pharmacological action. To answer them one should not

only know all the factors that may change the chemical composition of medicinal plants but to find out the effects of their action as well.

We  have been looking for reactions of different plants (especially medicinal) to various  air pollutans since many years (2-8).

The objective of this research is related to the comparative analysis of some changes in heavy metals’, radionuclids’ and polyphenols’ concentration in medicinal plants of Umbelliferae family (7 species, 50 stands) and Compositae family (9 species, 50 stands). The polyphenols are main active compounds. The protective function of the polyphenols corresponds to creation of the sustainable complexes with the heavy metals . They are considered as biological  antioxidants capable of free radical scavenging.

The vegetal material used for the analyses was obtained from near road sites of different traffic intensity and unpolluted regions. Analysis was performed according to our previously developed method (2,3,7,8).

The samples tested were found to differ not only with the heavy metals and radionuclids contens but also with biologically active compounds - furanocoumarins, volatile oils, flavonoids and tannins.

Analyses have revealed that the samples contained considerable amounts of heavy metals (Zn,Ni,Fe,Cr and Pb). The plants collected from roadsides with high traffic intensity accumulate much more of those elements. Zn level for example in samples was much over the standard value (50 ppm) It was found that the content of investigated elements in particular species differs importantly.

The studies of radioactivity have shown that analysed samples of Compositae family plants - Achillea millefolium, Tanacetum vulgare, Helichrysum arenaria - contain radionuclids of caesium, radium and potassium. Radioactive isotope of  caesium -137Cs was found in insignificant amounts only; its contents was at the level of background. The concentration of radium (its isotope  226Ra being one of the products  of natural nuclear fission of radioactive series) was - as in case of caesium- low in majority of samples. The analysis of plant material also revealed important quantities of radioactive potassium isotope - 40K.

The results obtained prove, that the radioactive contaminations are not the source of direct threaten to people from the outside, because they are caused by small amounts of radioactive substances. They become dengerous after penetration to human body by respiratory or digestive system.

The higher cumulation of investigated elements, which is the consequence of air pollution, is not the only change in composition of studied plant species. It may be one of the factors resulting in differences in concentration of both volatile oils or furanocumarins in  Umbelliferae plants and flavonoids or tannins in species belonging to Compositae family. It is esthabilished, that the content of polyphenols is increased in samples from transport polluted regions. The level of flavonoids in two species of Tanacetum varies between 0,07-0,28% with the tendency to increase in the polluted area. It is necessary to notice that the synthesis of tannins reduces in conditions of impact pollution. The formation of the secondary metabolites, especially polyphenols in plants under conditions of air and soil pollution, has to be taken as the protective  reaction, increasing their vitality under environmental stress and as one of the ways for the transformation of the nonnatural toxicans. Not only quantity but also quality differences of polyphenolic fractions composition was observed. For example in Tanacetum vulgare L. more significant changes are found. The difference concerned the content of the luteolin and scutellariein 6,4-diMe which are missing in the samples from  the  polluted area. The conclusion of our study is that the closeness of the traffic arteries is one of the reasons for the unfavorable changes in the chemical composition of medicinal plants resulting in the deterioration of the quality and value of drugs obtained.


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