Phytochemical screening and free radical scavenging activity of Citrullus colocynthis seeds extracts
Objective: To study the phytochemical screening of different extracts from Citrullus colocynthis (C. colocynthis ) seeds extracts and to assess their antioxidant activity on the DPPH free radical scavenging. Methods: Phytochemical screening, total content of polyphenols and flavonoids of C. colocynthis seeds extracts, including a crude aqueous extract (E1), a defatted aqueous extract (E2), a hydromethanolic extract (HM), an ethyl acetate extract (EA) and a n-butanol extract (n-B) was carried out according to the standard methods and to assess their corresponding effect on the antioxidant activity of this plant. Results: None of these extracts contained detectable amount of alkaloid, quinone, antraquinone, or reducing sugar. Catechic tannins and flavonoids were abundant in E1, HM and EA, whilst terpenoids were abundantly present in E1 and n-B but only weekly in HM. Coumarins were found in E2, EA and n-B. Polyphenols, expressed as gallic acid equivalent, amounted, per 100 g plant matter, to 329, 1002 and 150 mg in EA, HM an E1 respectively. Flavonoids, expressed as catechin equivalent, amounted, per 100 g plant matter to 620, 241 and 94 mg in EA, HM and E1 respectively. Comparable values were found in n-B and E1, with lower values in E2. Quercetin, myricetin and gallic acid were found in the EA and HM extracts by thin layer chromatography, The antioxidative effect of these extracts yielded, when tested at a concentration of 2 000 μg/mL in a 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl assay, a reducing percentage of 88.8% with EA, 74.5% with HM and 66.2% with E1, and corresponding IC50 of 350, 580 and 500 μg/mL as compared to 1.1 μg/mL for ascorbic acid. Conclusions: These qualitative and quantitative analytical data document the presence in C. colocynthis extracts of such chemical compounds as flavonoids responsible for the antioxidant activity, as well as other biological activities of this plant.