Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Chemical analysis of Greek pollen - Antioxidant, antimicrobial and proteasome activation properties

Konstantia Graikou1, Suzanne Kapeta2, Nektarios Aligiannis1, George Sotiroudis3, Niki Chondrogianni2, Efstathios Gonos2 and Ioanna Chinou1*

Author Affiliations

1 University of Athens, School of Pharmacy, Division of Pharmacognosy and Chemistry of Natural Products, Zografou Campus, 15771, Athens, Greece

2 National Hellenic Research Foundation, Institute of Biological Research and Biotechnology, Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Aging, 48 Vas. Constantinou Av., 11635, Athens, Greece

3 National Hellenic Research Foundation, Institute of Biological Research and Biotechnology, 48 Vas. Constantinou Av., 11635, Athens, Greece

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Chemistry Central Journal 2011, 5:33  doi:10.1186/1752-153X-5-33

Published: 23 June 2011

Abstract

Background

Pollen is a bee-product known for its medical properties from ancient times. In our days is increasingly used as health food supplement and especially as a tonic primarily with appeal to the elderly to ameliorate the effects of ageing. In order to evaluate the chemical composition and the biological activity of Greek pollen which has never been studied before, one sample with identified botanical origin from sixteen different common plant taxa of Greece has been evaluated.

Results

Three different extracts of the studied sample of Greek pollen, have been tested, in whether could induce proteasome activities in human fibroblasts. The water extract was found to induce a highly proteasome activity, showing interesting antioxidant properties. Due to this activity the aqueous extract was further subjected to chemical analysis and seven flavonoids have been isolated and identified by modern spectral means. From the methanolic extract, sugars, lipid acids, phenolic acids and their esters have been also identified, which mainly participate to the biosynthetic pathway of pollen phenolics. The total phenolics were estimated with the Folin-Ciocalteau reagent and the total antioxidant activity was determined by the DPPH method while the extracts and the isolated compounds were also tested for their antimicrobial activity by the dilution technique.

Conclusions

The Greek pollen is rich in flavonoids and phenolic acids which indicate the observed free radical scavenging activity, the effects of pollen on human fibroblasts and the interesting antimicrobial profile.

Graphical abstract