Effects of gamma radiation on the bioactivity of medicinal and aromatic plants: Mentha × piperita L., Thymus vulgaris L. and Aloysia citrodora Paláu as case studies
Irradiation is a feasible and safe decontamination technique, being applied to several types of foods including edible and medicinal plants. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of different gamma radiation doses (1, 5 and 10 kGy) on the individual profile of phenolic compounds determined by HPLC-DAD-ESI/MS, and the bioactive potential (cytotoxic, virucidal, and antimicrobial activities) of Aloysia citrodora Paláu (lemon verbena), Mentha × piperita L. (peppermint) and Thymus vulgaris L. (thyme). The observed cytotoxic activity varied with the plant and with the applied dose, being higher in Thymus vulgaris irradiated with 10 kGy. The virucidal activity was also dependent on the radiation dose, but was preserved with irradiation treatment. Gamma rays had no effect on the antimicrobial activity of the studied plants. Otherwise, the effects of gamma radiation on the phenolic profile were heterogeneous, with an increase in some compounds and decrease in others, depending on the species and on the radiation dose.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Food & Function Recent HOT articles