Model development for predicting in vitro bio-capacity of green rooibos extract based on composition for application as screening tool in quality control†
Mounting evidence of the ability of aspalathin to target underlying metabolic dysfunction relevant to the development or progression of obesity and type 2 diabetes created a market for green rooibos extract as a functional food ingredient. Aspalathin is the obvious choice as a chemical marker for extract standardisation and quality control, however, often the concentration of a single constituent of a complex mixture such as a plant extract is not directly related to its bio-capacity, i.e. the level of in vitro bioactivity effected in a cell system at a fixed concentration. Three solvents (hot water and two EtOH–water mixtures), previously shown to produce bioactive green rooibos extracts, were selected for extraction of different batches of rooibos plant material (n = 10). Bio-capacity of the extracts, tested at 10 μg ml−1, was evaluated in terms of glucose uptake by C2C12 and C3A cells and lipid accumulation in 3T3-L1 cells. The different solvents and inter-batch plant variation delivered extracts ranging in aspalathin content from 54.1 to 213.8 g kg−1. The extracts were further characterised in terms of other major flavonoids (n = 10) and an enolic phenylpyruvic acid glucoside, using HPLC-DAD. The 80% EtOH–water extracts, with the highest mean aspalathin content (170.9 g kg−1), had the highest mean bio-capacity in the respective assays. Despite this, no significant (P ≥ 0.05) correlation existed between aspalathin content and bio-capacity, while the orientin, isoorientin and vitexin content correlated moderately (r ≥ 0.487; P < 0.05) with increased glucose uptake by C2C12 cells. Various multivariate analysis methods were then applied with Evolution Program-Partial Least Squares (EP-PLS) resulting in models with the best predictive power. These EP-PLS models, based on all quantified compounds, predicted the bio-capacity of the extracts for the respective cell types with RMSECV values ≤ 11.5, confirming that a complement of compounds, and not aspalathin content alone, is needed to predict the in vitro bio-capacity of green rooibos extracts. Additionally, the composition of hot water infusions of different production batches of green rooibos (n = 29) at ‘cup-of-tea’ equivalence was determined to relate dietary supplementation with the extract to intake in the form of herbal tea.