Comprehensive study of chemical composition and biological activity of Thymus pubescens Boiss. et Kotschy ex Celak

Yiğitkan S., Akdeniz M., Yener I., Şeker Z., Yılmaz M. A. , Fırat M., ...More

SOUTH AFRICAN JOURNAL OF BOTANY, vol.149, no.1, pp.425-434, 2022 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 149 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.sajb.2022.06.037
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, Veterinary Science Database
  • Page Numbers: pp.425-434


The use of Thymus species amongst the public and their importance in the scientific world is increasing day

by day. In addition to being consumed as tea and spice, Thymus species are used as folk medicine for respiratory,

digestive, skin, circulatory, genital, nervous, visual and urinary diseases. In this study, it was aimed to

examine the essential oil and ethanol extract of the root and aerial parts of Thymus pubescens Boiss. et Kotschy

ex Celak in the terms of their biological activity and chemical content. The phenolic content of the species

was determined by LC-MS/MS, while triterpenoid content, the chemical composition of the essential oil

as well as flavour was determined by GCMS. In addition, their antioxidant and cytotoxic activities, as well

as acetyl- (AChE) and butyrylcholinesterase (BChE), urease, tyrosinase, elastase, collagenase, HMG-CoA

reductase and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitory activities were studied. Thymol (53.33%) was

determined as the major component in the essential oil, while b-fenchyl alcohol (43.87%) was determined as

the major component of the flavour. According to the LC-MS/MS and GCMS results, it was found that especially

the aerial parts of the species have a high amount of rosmarinic acid (3875.76 mg analyte/g extract),

quinic acid (2392.55), naringenin (970.39), oleanolic (92785.96) and ursolic (63373.32) acids. The essential

oil of T. pubescens species was observed to show high activity in four antioxidant assays, e.g. inhibition of lipid

peroxidation, DPPH and ABTS radical scavenging activity as well as CUPRAC, while the ethanol extracts

showed moderate antioxidant activity. In enzyme inhibition assays, the aerial parts exerted marked BChE,

elastase, and collagenase inhibitory activities (92.43§1.28%, 42.59§0.56, and 48.61§0.39 at 100 mg/mL,

respectively). On the other hand, AChE, urease, tyrosinase, HMG-CoA reductase and ACE inhibitory activities

of all extracts were from low to moderate levels. In particular, the aerial parts of the species displayed a high

cytotoxic effect (vitality%: 6.82§0.01 at 200 mg/mL) in breast cancer (MCF-7) cell line. Due to its remarkable

antioxidant capacity, high content of rosmarinic, oleanolic, and ursolic acids and especially BChE, elastase,

and collagenase inhibitory activity, T. pubescens has the potential for using in food supplements, food preservatives,

cosmetics, and pharmaceutical industries.