Contract 82 from 01/09/2020
September 2020 – August 2022
Selenium biofortification: can we augment Allium species anticholesterolemic properties?
In a world where the “hidden hunger”—also known as micronutrient malnutrition—is the major form of nutritional insecurity with distressing consequences and under the proverbial banner “health comes from the farm not from the pharmacy”, recent attention has been directed to biofortified crops. These are expected to afford high bioavailable contents of essential micronutrients and could be developed by the consumers through the traditional agriculture and food commerce. Biofortification is dependent on physiological and biosynthetic ability of plants to produce or accumulate the required micronutrients. Although important advances in biofortified cereals have been performed, biofortified legumes and vegetables are underexploited. Among other micronutrients, selenium is an essential element for human and animals’ health and is obtained in their diet from plant sources whereas its deficiency leads to serious health problems. The three main goals of the project entail the comparison of seven edible Allium species in terms of total selenium uptake, Se speciation, growth and morphological effects as well as impact on their mineral and polyphenolic profiles followed by Se-metabolites interaction with recombinant squalene epoxidase—key enzyme in fungal ergosterol and mammalian cholesterol biosynthesis—and globins and finally the evaluation of the anticholesterolemic and antifungal activity of the Se biofortified Allium species extracts and their main phytochemicals. Outcome is expected to include development of relevant analytical protocols for Se speciation in plants, explanation and mechanism elucidation of the interaction and reactivity of Se compounds with key enzymes and identification of protocols and methodologies for plant Se biofortification. In the longer term, it is envisaged that the results will bring novel opportunities to better understand the key plant physiological pathways for biofortified crops that will aid diminishing “hidden hunger”.
- Lect. Dr. Augustin C. Mot – Project director
- Lect. Dr. Gal Emese – Young Researcher
- Dr. Andra Andreicuț – Postdoctoral researcher
- Bogdan Țigu – PhD student
- Cezara Zăgrean-Tuza – PhD student
- Bogdan Boșca – MSc student
Objectives and impact
The project aims to investigate Se speciation in several Se biofortified Allium species and the interaction of Se-containing phytochemicals and metabolites with key enzymes and thus targeting compounds with antifungal and anticholesterolemic properties. This will involve:
- Comparison of seven edible Allium species—that are Se biofortified via Se-enriched soil or agronomic biofortification, including previously completely unexplored species—in terms of total selenium uptake, Se speciation (inorganic, protein-bound, different organic phytoconstituents), growth and morphological effects as well as selenium content association with total sulphur content, mineral and polyphenolic profiles. In addition, these studies will grant the possibility to monitor the influence of Se biofortification upon other important nutrients in Allium species.
- Characterization of most relevant Se-phytochemicals as found in phytochemical analysis as well as total extract and key Se-based metabolites in interaction with recombinant squalene epoxidase—essential enzyme in fungal ergosterol and mammalian cholesterol biosynthesis—and globins.
- Evaluation of anticholesterolemic and antifungal activity of the seven Se biofortified Allium species extracts and their phytochemicals in vivo on laboratory rats and Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, Rhodotorula mucilaginosa fungi, respectively.
- Establishing the influence of Se biofortification on growth, morphologic, mineral and polyphenolic profiles in Allium species, thus allowing to choose the best candidate for Se biofortification.
- Development of relevant analytical protocols for Se speciation in plants and identification of Se phytoconstituents with high bioavailability potential in Allium species.
- Explanation and mechanism elucidation of the interaction and reactivity of Se compounds with key enzymes that will lead to understanding the inhibitory process and therefore develop new drugs or important functional foods.
- Identification of protocols and methodologies for best Se biofortified Allium species with anticholesterolemic and antifungal properties that will ease future studies in the field.
- In the longer term, it is foreseen that the results provide novel occasions to better understand the key plant physiological pathways for biofortified crops that will aid diminishing “hidden hunger”.
- A welcome opportunity to develop a group of young researchers, PhD and MSc students in plant sciences in general, phytochemistry and phytoanalysis in particular, with emphasize on nutritional and medicinal plants.
|Budget chapter (expenses)
|Total budget (lei)
Results and benefits
- Adrian Bogdan Țigu, Cristian Silviu Moldovan, Vlad-Alexandru Toma, Anca Daniela Farcaș, Augustin C. Moț, Ancuța Jurj, Eva Fischer-Fodor, Cristina Mircea, Marcel Pârvu, Phytochemical Analysis and In Vitro Effects of Allium fistulosum L. and Allium sativum L. Extracts on Human Normal and Tumor Cell Lines: A Comparative Study, Molecules 2021, 26(3), 574
- Alexandra Ciorîță, Cezara Zăgrean-Tuza, Augustin C. Moț, Rahela Carpa, Marcel Pârvu, The Phytochemical Analysis of Vinca L. Species Leaf Extracts Is Correlated with the Antioxidant, Antibacterial, and Antitumor Effects, Molecules 2021, 26(10), 3040
Conferences (Oral presentations or posters):
- Bogdan M. Boșca, Augustin C. Moț, Dual-mode determination of selenium in biofortified Allium microsamples following piazselenol formation and solid phase microextraction/Oral presentation, International Conference Students for Students”, April 2021, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
- Bogdan M. Boșca, Augustin C. Moț, Determination of selenium in biofortified Allium microsamples using selective complexation and chromatographic detections/Oral presentation, Students’ Scientific Communications Session, May 2021, Bucharest, Romania
- Bogdan M. Boșca, Augustin C. Moț, Evaluation of selenium content in biofortified Allium species by chromatographic means/Oral presentation, Young Researchers in BioSciences International Symposium”, July 2021, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
- Bogdan M. Boșca, Augustin C. Moț, Dual-mode determination of selenium in biofortified Allium microsamples following piazselenol formation and solid phase microextraction/Poster, Processes in Isotopes and Molecules (PIM 2021), September 2021, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
- Anca E. Anghel, Ioana Grosu, Augustin C. Moț, Simultaneous determination of torulene, torularhodin and β-carotene in Rhodotorula mucilaginosa using UV-Vis spectroscopy and chemometric approaches/Oral presentation, Young Researchers in Biosciences, July 2021, Cluj-Napoca, Romania.
- Anca E. Anghel, Augustin C. Moț, Determination of capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin in topical creams using HPLC and extended standard addition calibration/Poster, Processes in Isotopes and Molecules, September 2021, Cluj-Napoca, Romania.
- Nanovolume spectrophotometer, 59785 lei
- Fluorescence system, 34450 lei
- Analytical balance, 4085 lei
The scientific report contains unpublished data and can be obtain for the evaluation of the project only. Further contact: augustin.mot (at) ubbcluj.ro