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Variation in Fruit Morphological Traits and Bioactive Compounds in Different Populations of Ferula assa-foetida, F. gummosa, and F. ovina Collected from Iran

A. Akbarian1, M. Rahimmalek1*, and M. R. Sabzalian. Journal of Agricultural Science and Technology. (2017) Vol. 19: 425-438.


Variability in morphological traits, phenolic content, and antioxidant activity of 15
populations of Iranian Ferula species collected from natural habitats in different regions
of Iran were investigated. Total Phenolic Content (TPC) of fruit extracts varied from
12.77 to 120.72 mg tannic acid per 1g dry weight. Total flavonoid of fruits extract varied
from 5.45 mg quercetin per 1 g dry weight in F. assa-foetida to 8.09 mg QUE g-1 in F.
ovina. Antioxidant activity of fruits was assessed using three model systems. Fruits extract
showed excellent radical scavenging activity as compared to BHT. Similar trend was also
obtained in reducing power (FTC) and -carotene-linoleic acid model systems. The cluster
analysis subdivided the populations in three major groups. Group 1 possessed high
inhibition of beta-carotene (> 60%), while group 2 showed low percent of inhibition (<
35%). Group 3 revealed the lowest TPC, TFC, and antioxidant activity. Most of Ferula
populations (group 1) were more potent for scavenging of free radicals in lipid phases in
comparison with aqueous phase. In this study, some fruit morphological traits were also
measured in populations. Among the studied species, F. gummosa had the highest fruit
length and thousand kernel weight and length/width ratio as well as high antioxidant
activity. In overall, the results revealed the scientific basis for traditional usage of the
studied Ferula species as spice plants and their potential as a rich source of natural
antioxidant and flavonoid source.
Keywords: Diversity, Environmental factors, Flavonoid, Phenolic correlation.

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