Chemical profiling and biological screening of Thymus lotocephalus extracts obtained by supercritical fluid extraction and hydrodistillation

Patrícia Costa, Sandra Gonçalves, Clara Grosso, Paula B. Andrade, Patrícia Valentão, M. Gabriela Bernardo-Gil, Anabela Romano*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Essential oil and extracts from the aerial parts of Thymus lotocephalus were obtained by hydrodistillation (HD) and supercritical fluid extraction (SFE) in two different collectors, respectively. SFE was conducted at 40 °C and a working pressure of 12 or 18. MPa. The chemical profiles were determined using GC-FID and GC-IT-MS. Oxygen-containing monoterpenes were the primary constituents in the essential oil and SFE extracts collected in the second separator, while the extracts obtained in the first separator were predominantly oxygen-containing sesquiterpenes. A large number of compounds were identified by hydrodistillation and, in contrast, the highest extraction yields were obtained using SFE. Linalool (10.43 ± 1.63%) was the main component in essential oil, whereas camphor (7.91 ± 0.84%) and cis-linalool oxide (7.25 ± 1.45%) were the major compounds in the extracts-2nd separator obtained at pressures of 12 and 18. MPa, respectively. Caryophyllene oxide was the primary constituent identified in the extracts-1st separator (4.34 ± 0.51 and 4.41 ± 1.25% obtained at 12 and 18. MPa, respectively). The antioxidant activity was assessed by ORAC and DPPH assays, and the anti-cholinesterase activity was evaluated in vitro using Ellman's method. The essential oil and SFE extracts (first separator) of T. lotocephalus possessed antioxidant activity and strongly inhibited cholinesterases. We also demonstrated that the acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase inhibitory activities of the essential oil could be attributed to 1,8-cineole and caryophyllene oxide, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-256
Number of pages11
JournalIndustrial Crops and Products
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Anti-cholinesterase
  • Antioxidants
  • Essential oil
  • SFE extracts


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