Examination of the polyphenol content and bioactivities of Prunus spinosa L. fruit extracts


  • Ivona Veličković University of Belgrade - Faculty of Biology, Institute of Botany and Botanical Garden “Jevremovac“, Studentski trg 16, 11000 Belgrade http://orcid.org/0000-0002-7301-5583
  • Željko Žižak Institute of Oncology and Radiology of Serbia, Pasterova 14, 11000 Belgrade http://orcid.org/0000-0002-0835-9275
  • Nemanja Rajčević University of Belgrade - Faculty of Biology, Institute of Botany and Botanical Garden “Jevremovac“, Studentski trg 16, 11000 Belgrade http://orcid.org/0000-0003-2260-1205
  • Marija Ivanov Department for Plant Physiology, Institute for Biological Research “Siniša Stanković“ – National Institute of the Republic of Serbia, University of Belgrade, Bulevar despota Stefana 142, 11060 Belgrade http://orcid.org/0000-0002-2480-5490
  • Marina Soković Department for Plant Physiology, Institute for Biological Research “Siniša Stanković“ – National Institute of the Republic of Serbia, University of Belgrade, Bulevar despota Stefana 142, 11060 Belgrade http://orcid.org/0000-0002-7381-756X
  • Petar D. Marin University of Belgrade - Faculty of Biology, Institute of Botany and Botanical Garden “Jevremovac“, Studentski trg 16, 11000 Belgrade http://orcid.org/0000-0002-9460-1012
  • Slavica Grujić University of Belgrade - Faculty of Biology, Institute of Botany and Botanical Garden “Jevremovac“, Studentski trg 16, 11000 Belgrade http://orcid.org/0000-0002-8287-921X


P. spinosa (blackthorn), antioxidant activity, antimicrobial activity, antidiabetic activity, α-glucosidase inhibitory activity


Paper description:

  • P. spinosa (blackthorn) aqueous, ethanol and acetone fruit extracts were analyzed. Total phenolic and flavonoid contents, the anthocyanin profile and bioactivities were determined by in vitro colorimetric methods.
  • P. spinosa fruit extracts exhibited antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-diabetic properties with the ethanol fruit extract markedly inhibiting α-glucosidase, an enzyme-linked with diabetes mellitus type II.
  • P. spinosa fruit extracts, in particular the ethanol extract, should be considered for further investigation of naturally occurring compounds with a potential anti-diabetic effect.

Abstract: We investigated the total phenolic and flavonoid contents and the anthocyanin profiles in aqueous, ethanol and acetone extracts of Prunus spinosa (Rosaceae) fruit, and their antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, antidiabetic and antitumor properties. The contribution of polyphenol contents to the bioactivity of the extracts was calculated and observed through Pearson’s coefficient of correlation. The acetone extract was the richest in phenols and anthocyanins and the ethanol extract in flavonoids. Cyanidin was the most abundant anthocyanin compound in all examined extracts. The ethanol extract showed the most promising antioxidant activity in DPPH, ABTS and FRAP assays. Tested bacteria were more affected by the ethanol than by the aqueous extract. Both the ethanol and aqueous extracts exhibited potential antidiabetic effects, observed as inhibition of α-amylase and α-glucosidase, enzymes linked with diabetes mellitus type II. The ethanol extract was a potent α-glucosidase-inhibitor with a significantly lower IC50 value than the positive control, glucobay, used to treat diabetes mellitus type II. Neither the ethanol nor the aqueous extracts had any effects on tested human malignant cell lines. Our results indicate that the ethanol extract showed the most pronounced in vitro antioxidant and antimicrobial effects, and a potential antidiabetic activity, which can be ascribed to its high flavonoid content. Our results indicate that research of compounds, particularly of flavonoids present in the ethanol extract and their anti-diabetic properties should be examined further.


Received: December 17, 2019; Revised: February 7, 2020; Accepted: February 8, 2020; Published online: February 10, 2020

How to cite this article: Veličković I, Žižak Ž, Rajčević N, Ivanov M, Soković M, Marin P, Grujić S. Examination of the polyphenol content and bioactivities of Prunus spinosa L. fruit extracts. Arch Biol Sci. 2020;72(1):105-15.


Download data is not yet available.


Lee S, Jun W. A phylogenetic analysis of Prunus and the Amygdaloideae (Rosaceae) using ITS sequences of nuclear ribosomal DNA. Am J Bot. 2001;88(1):150-60.

Webb DA. Prunus L. In: Tutin TG, Heywood VH, Burges NA, Moore DM, Valentine DH, Walters SM, Webb DA, editors. Flora Europaea, 2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 1968. p. 77.

Jovanović B. Prunus L. In: Tatić B, Josifović M, Stjepanović L, Janković MM, Gajić M, Kojić M, Diklić N, editors. Flora S.R. Srbije, Vol 4. Beograd: SANU; 1972. p. 179.

Pinto Carvalho AM. Etnobotánica del Parque Natural de Montesinho plantas, tradición y saber popular en un territorio del Nordeste de Portugal [dissertation]. [Madrid]: Departmento de Biologia, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid; 2005.

Ruiz-Rodríguez BM, De Ancos B, Sánchez-Moreno C, Fernández-Ruiz V, De Cortes Sánchez-Mata M, Cámara M, Tardío J. Wild blackthorn (Prunus spinosa L.) and hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna Jacq.) fruits as valuable sources of antioxidants. Friuts. 2014;69(1):61-73.

Leporatti ML, Pavesi A, Posocco E. Phytoterapy in The Valneria Marche (Central Italy). J Ethnopharmacol. 1985;14:53-63.

Yeşilada E, Sezik E, Honda G, Takaishi Y, Takeda Y, Tanaka T. Traditional medicine in Turkey IX: Folk medicine in north-west Anatolia. J Ethnopharmacol. 1999;64(3):195-210.

Pieroni A. Medicinal plants and food medicines in the folk traditions of the upper Lucca Province, Italy. J Ethnopharmacol. 2000;70:235-73.

Idolo M, Motti R, Mazzoleni S. Ethnobotanical and phytochemical knowledge in a long-history protected area, the Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park (Italian Apennines). J Ethnopharmacol. 2010;127:379-95.

Cavero RY, Akerreta S, Calvo MI. Pharmaceutical ethnobotany in the Middle Navarra (Iberian Peninsula). J Ethnopharmacol. 2011;137:844-55.

Veličković JM, Kostić DA, Stojanović GS, Mitić SS, Mitić MN, Ranđelović SS, Đorđević AS. Phenolic composition, antioxidant and antimicrobial activity of the extracts from Prunus spinosa L. fruit. Hem Ind. 2014;68(3):297-303.

Darias V, Bravo L, Rabanal R, Mateo CS, Luis RG, Perez AH. New contribution to the ethnopharmacological study of the Canary Islands. J Ethnopharmacol. 1989;25(1):77-92.

Miraldi E, Ferri S, Mostaghimi V. Botanical drugs and preparations in the traditional medicine of West Azerbaijan (Iran). J Ethnopharmacol. 2001;75:77-87.

Guarrera PM, Forti G, Maringoli S. Ethobotanical and ethnomedicinal uses of plants in the district of Acquapendente (Latium, Central Italy). J Ethnopharmacol. 2005;96:429

Kültür Ş. Medicinal plants used in Kirklareli Province (Turkey). J Ethnopharmacol. 2007;111:341-64.

Alarcón R, Pardo-de-Santayana M, Priestley C, Morales R, Heinrich M. Medicinal and local food plants in the south of Alava (Basque Country, Spain). J Ethopharmacol. 2015;176:207-24.

Da Silva LP, Pereira E, Pires TC, Alves MJ, Pereira OR, Barros L, Ferreira IC. Rubus ulmifolius Schott fruits: A detailed study of its nutritional, chemical and bioactive properties. Food Res Int. 2019;119:34-43.

Mariod AA, Ibrahim RM, Ismail M, Ismail N. Antioxidant activities of phenolic rich fractions (PRFs) obtained from black mahlab (Monechma ciliatum) and white mahlab (Prunus mahaleb) seedcakes. Food Chem. 2010;118:120-7.

Ieri F, Pinelli P, Romani A. Simultaneous determination of anthocyanins, coumarins and phenolic acids in fruits, kernels and liqueur of Prunus mahaleb L. Food Chem. 2012;2157-62.

Pinacho R, Cavero RY, Astiasarán I, Ansorena D, Calvo MI. Phenolic compounds of blackthorn (Prunus spinosa L.) and influence of in vitro digestion on their antioxidant capacity. J Funct Foods. 2015;19:49-62.

Jayaprakasha GK, Murthy KC, Pellati F, Patil BS. BetaSweet carrot extracts have antioxidant activity and in vitro antiproliferative effects against breast cancer cells. J Funct Foods. 2019;62:103552.

Dikić D, Balta V, Ivana K, Murati T, Orsolic N, Uzelac VD, Jurčević IL. UPLC/MS analysis of plasma bioavailability of 32 polyphenols in C57BL. Mol Exp Biol Med. 2018;2:23-31.

Marchelak A, Owczarek A, Rutkowska M, Michel P, Kolodziejczyk-Czepas J, Nowak P, Olszewska MA. New insights into antioxidant activity of Prunus spinosa flowers: Extracts, model polyphenols and their phenolic metabolites in plasma towards multiple in vivo-relevant oxidants. Phytochem Lett. 2019;30:288-95.

Fang J. Classification of fruits based on anthocyanin types and relevance to their health effects. Nutrition. 2015;31:1301-6.

Hidalgo GI, Almajano MP. Red fruits: extraction of antioxidants, phenolic content, and radical scavenging determination: a review. Antioxidants. 2017;6(1):7.

Kruger MJ, Davies N, Myburgh KH, Lecour S. Proanthocyanidins, anthocyanins and cardiovascular diseases. Food Res Int. 2014;59:41-52.

Singleton VJ, Rossi JA. Colometry of total phenolics with phosphomolybdic-phosphotungstic acid reagents. Am J Enol Viticult. 1965;16:144-58.

Park K, Koo MH, Ikegaki M, Contado JLM. Comparison of the flavonoid aglycone contents of Apis melifera propolis from various regions of Brazil. Arq Biol Tecnol. 1997;40(1):97-106.

Blois MS. Antioxidant determination by use of stable free radical. Nature. 1958;181:1199-200.

Miller N, Rice-Evans C. Factors influencing the antioxidant activity determined by the ABTS radical cation assay. Free Radic Res. 1997;26:195-9.

Benzie IFF, Strain JJ. The Ferric Reducing Ability of Plasma (FRAP) as a Measure of „Antioxidant Power“: The FRAP Assay. Anal Biochem. 1996;239:70-6.

Oyaizu M. Studies on product of browning reaction prepared from glucose amine. Jpn J Nutr. 1986;44:307-15.

Soković M, Glamočlija J, Marin PD, Brkić D, Van Griensven LJ. Antibacterial effects of the essential oils of commonly consumed medicinal herbs using an in vitro model. Molecules. 2010;15(11):7532-46.

Kostić M, Smiljković M, Petrović J, Glamočlija J, Barros L, Ferreira IC, Ćirić A, Soković M. Chemical, nutritive composition and a wide range of bioactive properties of honey mushroom Armillaria mellea (Vahl: Fr.) Kummer. Food Funct. 2017;8(9):3239-49.

Sokovic MD, Vukojevic J, Marin PD, Brkic DD, Vajs V, Van Griensven LJLD. Chemical composition of essential oils of Thymus and Mentha species and their antifungal activities. Molecules. 2009;14:238-49.

Zengin G, Sarikurkcu C, Aktumsek A, Ceylan R, Ceylan O. A comprehensive study on phytochemical characterization of Haplophyllum myrtifolium Boiss. endemic to Turkey and its inhibitory potential against key enzymes involved in Alzheimer, skin diseases and type II diabetes. Ind Crops Prod. 2014;53:244-51.

Wan LS, Min QX, Wang YL, Yue YD, Chen JC. Xanthone glycoside constituents of Swertia kouitchensis with α-glucosidase inhibitory activity. J Nat Prod. 2013;76(7):1248-53.

Mosmann T. Rapid colorimetric assay for cellular growth and survival: application to proliferation and cytotoxicity assays. J Immunol Methods. 1983;65:55-63.

Ohno M, Abe T. Rapid colorimetric assay for the quantification of leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) and interleukin-6 (IL-6). J Immunol Methods. 1991;145:199-203.

Taylor R. Interpretation of the correlation coefficient: a basic review. J Diagn Med Sonogr. 1990;6(1):35-9.

Ivanovic J, Tadic V, Dimitrijevic S, Stamenic M, Petrovic S, Zizovic I. Antioxidant properties of the anthocyanin-containing ultrasonic extract from blackberry cultivar “Čačanska Bestrna”. Ind Crops Prod. 2014;53:274-81.

Stanković MI, Savić VL, Živković JV, Tadić VM, Arsić IA. Tyrosinase Inhibitory and Antioxidant Activity of Wild Prunus spinosa L. Fruit Extracts as Natural Source of Bioactive Compounds. Not Bot Horti Agrobot Cluj Napoca. 2019;47(3):651-7.

Barros L, Carvalho A M, Morais J S, Ferreira IC. Strawberry-tree, blackthorn and rose fruits: Detailed characterisation in nutrients and phytochemicals with antioxidant properties. Food Chem. 2010;120(1):247-54.

Tahirovic A, Basic N, Copra-Janicijevic A. Effect of solvents on phenolic compounds extraction and antioxidant activity of Prunus spinosa L. fruits. Glas Hem Tehnol Bos Herceg. 2018;(50):19-24.

Popović BM, Blagojević B, Pavlović RŽ, Mićić N, Bijelić S, Bogdanović B, Mišan A, Duarte CMM, Serra AT. Comparison between polyphenol profile and bioactive response in blackthorn (Prunus spinosa L.) genotypes from north Serbia-from raw data to PCA analysis. Food Chem. 2020;302:125373.

Fraternale D, Giamperi L, Bucchini A, Sestili P, Paolillo M, Ricci D. Prunus spinosa fresh fruit juice: antioxidant activity in cell-free and cellular systems. Nat Prod Commun. 2009;4(12):1665-70.

Acero N, Gradillas A, Beltran M, García A, Mingarro DM. Comparison of phenolic compounds profile and antioxidant properties of different sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) varieties. Food Chem. 2019;279:260-71.

Kumarasamy Y, Cox PJ, Jaspars M, Nahar L, Sarker SD. Comparative studies on biological activities of Prunus padus and P. spinosa. Fitoterapia. 2004;75(1):77-80.

Radovanović BC, Anđelković SM, Radovanović AB, Anđelković MZ. Antioxidant and antimicrobial activity of polyphenol extracts from wild berry fruits grown in southeast Serbia. Trop J Pharm Res. 2013;12(5):813-9.

Gegiu G, Branza AD, Bucur L, Grigorian M, Tache T, Badea V. Contributions to antimicrobial and antifungal study of Prunus spinosa L. Farmacia. 2015;63(2):275-9.




How to Cite

Veličković I, Žižak Željko, Rajčević N, Ivanov M, Soković M, Marin PD, Grujić S. Examination of the polyphenol content and bioactivities of Prunus spinosa L. fruit extracts. Arch Biol Sci [Internet]. 2020Mar.24 [cited 2022Jan.19];72(1):105-1. Available from: https://www.serbiosoc.org.rs/arch/index.php/abs/article/view/4932




Most read articles by the same author(s)