Pigments, Polyphenols and Antioxidant Activity of Leaf Extracts from Four Wild Rose Species Grown in Sicily

Francesca D'ANGIOLILLO, Michele Massimo MAMMANO, Giancarlo FASCELLA


Leaf methanolic extracts of four wild Rose species (Rosa canina L., R. corymbifera Borkh., R. micrantha Borrer ex Sm and R. sempervirens L.) grown in Sicily were analysed in order to evaluate differences among indigenous roses which could be used such as source of bioactive compounds and natural antioxidants. Leaves were harvested during two different periods (June and October) and their morphological characteristics were described. Leaf content of chlorophylls, total anthocyanins, total flavonoids, total polyphenols (Folin-Ciocalteu method) and antioxidant activity (DPPH method) were determined. Results showed that the contents of chlorophylls and carotenoids were higher in leaves of all species harvested in June than in those harvested in October. On the contrary, total anthocyanins of R. micrantha and R. corymbifera leaves were higher in October. Total polyphenol content was higher in leaves of all species were harvested in October. No difference in total flavonoids content was recorded between the two harvest periods but only among the four species. Antioxidant activity was generally high in leaf extracts of all species in both periods and, particularly, in R. micrantha leaves harvested in June. These outcomes seem to support the assessment that leaves harvested from some Sicilian wild roses may be used as promising source of healthy compounds and that their content varies with the species and harvest period.


anthocyanins; antioxidants; carotenoids; chlorophylls; flavonoids; Sicilian roses

Full Text:



Adumitresei L, Magdalena ZM, Zenovia O, Irina B (2011). Observations on the foliar assimilating pigments content for wild and garden roses. Journal of Plant Development 18:47-54.

Baydar NG, Baydar H (2013). Phenolic compounds, antiradical activity and antioxidant capacity of oil-bearing rose (Rosa damascena Mill.) extracts. Industrial Crops and Products 41:375-380.

Bitis L, Kultur S, Melikoglu G, Ozsoy N, Can A (2010). Flavonoids and antioxidant activity of Rosa agrestis leaves. Natural Product Research 24:580-589.

Brand-Williams W, Cuvelier ME, Berset C (1995). Use of a free radical method to evaluate antioxidant activity. Food Science Technology 28:25-30.

Cheng GW, Breen PJ (1991). Activity of phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL) and concentrations of anthocyanins and phenolics in developing strawberry fruit. Journal of American Society of Horticultural Sciences 116:865-869.

Cunja V, Mikulic-Petkovsek M, Stampar F, Schmitzer V (2014). Compound identification of selected Rose species and cultivars: an insight to petal and leaf phenolic profiles. Journal of American Society of Horticultural Sciences 139:157-166.

Ercisli S (2005). Rose (Rosa spp.) germplasm resources of Turkey. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 52:787-795.

Ercisli S (2007). Chemical composition of fruits in some rose (Rosa spp.) species. Food Chemistry 104:1379-1384.

Ercisli S, Güleryüz M (2005). Rose hip utilization in Turkey. Acta Horticulturae 690:77-82.

Fascella G, Giardina G, Maggiore P, Giovino A, Scibetta S (2015). Distribution, habitats, characterization and propagation of Sicilian rose species. Acta Horticulturae 1064:31-37.

Fenglin H, Ruili L, Liang M (2004). Free radical scavenging activity of extracts prepared from fresh leaves of selected Chinese medicinal plants. Fitoterapia 75:14-23.

Gao X, Björk L, Trajkovski V, Uggla M (2000). Evaluation of antioxidant activities of rosehip ethanol extracts in different test systems. Journal of Science, Food and Agriculture 80:2021-2027.

Ghazghazi H, Miguel MG, Hasnaoui B, Sebei H, Figueiredo AC, Pedro LG, Barroso JG (2012). Leaf essential oil, leaf methanolic extract and rose hips carotenoids from Rosa sempervirens L. growing in North of Tunisia and their antioxidant activities. Journal of Medicinal Plants Research 6:574-579.

Ghazghazi H, Miguel MG, Hasnaoui B, Sebei H, Ksontini M, Figueiredo AC, Pedro LG, Barroso JG (2010). Phenols, essential oils and carotenoids of Rosa canina from Tunisia and their antioxidant activities. African Journal of Biotechnology 9:2709-2716.

González JA, Gallardo MG, Boero C, Cruz ML, Prado FE (2007). Altitudinal and seasonal variation of protective and photosynthetic pigments in leaves of the world's highest elevation trees Polylepis tarapacana (Rosaceae). Acta Oecologica 32:36-41.

Kähkönen MP, Hopia AI, Vuoela J, Rauha JP, Pihlaja K, Kulaja T, Heinonen M (1999). Antioxidant activity of plant extracts containing phenolic compounds. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry 47:3954-3962.

Kalt W, Ryan DAJ, Duy JC, Prior RL, Ehlenfeldt MK, Kloet SPV (2001). Interspecific variation in anthocyanins, phenolics, and antioxidant capacity among genotypes of highbush and lowbush blueberries. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry 49:4761–4767.

Kim DO, Jeong SW, Lee CY (2003). Antioxidant capacity of phenolic phytochemicals from various cultivars of plums. Food Chemistry 81(3):321-326.

Kondratyuk TP, Pezzuto JM (2004). Natural product polyphenols of relevance to human health. Pharmaceutical Biology 42:46-63.

Kovacs S, Facsar G, Udvardy L, Tóth M (2005). Phenological, morphological and pomological characteristics of some rose species found in Hungary. Acta Horticulturae 690:71-76.

Kultur S (2007). Medicinal plants used in Kirklareli Province (Turkey). Journal of Ethnopharmacology 111:341-364.

Kurtto A, Lampinen R, Junka L (2004). Atlas Florae Europaeae. Distribution of vascular plants in Europe: Rosaceae. The Committee for Mapping the Flora of Europe and Societas Biologica Fennica Vanamo, Helsinki, Finland.

Li JR, Liu J, He DH, Xu HX, Ding LS, Bao WK, ... Zhou Y (2013). Three new phenolic compounds from the leaves of Rosa sericea. Fitoterapia 84:332-337.

Lichtenthaler HK (1987). Chlorophylls and carotenoids: pigments of photosynthetic biomembranes. Methods in Enzymology 148:350-382.

Middleton E, Kandaswami C, Theoharides TC (2000). The effects of plant flavonoids on mammalian cells: implications for inflammation, heart disease and cancer. Pharmacological reviews 52:673-751.

Monder MJ, Niedzielski M, Wolinski K (2014). Effect of rooting preparations on protein, chlorophyll and carotenoid content in leaves of Rosa gallica ‘Duchesse d’Angouleme’ cuttings. Dendrobiology 72:29-39.

Nowak R, Gawlik-Dziki U (2007). Polyphenols of Rosa L. leaves extracts and their radical scavenging activity. Zeitschrift Naturforschung 62:32-38.

Ouerghemmi S, Sebei H, Siracusa L, Ruberto G, Saija A, Cimino F, Cristani M (2016). Comparative study of phenolic composition and antioxidant activity of leaf extracts from three wild Rosa species grown in different Tunisia regions: Rosa canina L., Rosa moschata Herrm. and Rosa sempervirens L. Industrial Crops and Products 94:167-177.

Ozsoy N, Kultur S, Melikoglu G, Can A (2013). Screening of the antioxidant potential of the leaves and flowers from Rosa horrida Fischer. Journal of Medicinal Plants Research 7:573-578.

Parejo I, Viladomat F, Bastida J, Rosas-Romero A, Flerlage N, Burillo J, Codina C (2002). Comparison between the radical scavenging activity and antioxidant activity of six distilled and nondistilled Mediterranean herbs and aromatic plants. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry 50:6882-6890.

Scalzo J, Politi A, Pellegrini N, Mezzetti B, Battino M (2005). Plant genotype affects total antioxidant capacity and phenolic contents in fruit. Nutrition 21:207–213.

Schmitzer V, Veberic R, Osterc G, Stampar F (2010). Color and phenolic content changes during flower development in groundcover rose. Journal of American Society for Horticultural Science 135(3):195–202.

Singleton VL, Rossi JA (1965). Colorimetry of total phenolics with phosphomolybdic-phosphotungstic acid reagents. American Journal of Enology and Viticulture 16:144-158.

Sparinska A, Rostoks N (2012). Comparing ornamental and other quality traits of Rosa rugosa hybrids in Latvia. Acta Horticulturae 953:277-283.

Sroka Z (2005). Antioxidative and antiradical properties of plant phenolics. Zeitschrift Naturforschung 60:833-843.

Uggla M, Martinsson (2005). Cultivate the wild roses - experiences from rose hip production in Sweden. Acta Horticulturae 690:83-90.

Wenzig EM, Widowitz U, Kunert O, Chrubasik S, Bucar F, Knauder E, Bauer R (2008). Phytochemical composition and in vitro pharmacological activity of two rose hip (Rosa canina L.) preparations. Phytomedicine 15:826-835.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15835/nbha46211061

June 1, 2017: Notulae Botanicae Horti Agrobotanici Cluj-Napoca in CiteScore rank (Scopus – Elsevier) 28/66 in Horticulture