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A novel source of biologically active compounds - The leaves of Serbian herbaceous peonies.

In order to gain further insight into how various extraction techniques (maceration, microwave-, and ultrasound-assisted extractions) affect the chemical profile and biological activities of leaf extracts from Paeonia tenuifolia L., Paeonia peregrina Mill., and Paeonia officinalis L., this research was performed. The targeted chemical characterization of the extracts was achieved using the Ultra-High-Performance-Liquid-Chromatography-Linear-Trap-Mass-Spectrometry OrbiTrap instrumental technique, while Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy was conducted to investigate the structural properties of the examined leaf extracts. According to the results, the species P. officinalis, Božurna locality as the origin of the plant material, and microwave-assisted extraction produced the maximum polyphenol yield, (491.9 ± 2.7 mg gallic acid equivalent (GAE)/mL). The ethanolic extracts exhibited moderate antioxidant activity as evaluated by DPPH (2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl) and phosphomolybdenum tests. With MIC values of 0.125 mg/mL, the leaf extracts produced by ultrasound-assisted extraction and maceration (Deliblato sands and Bogovo gumno) had the best antibacterial activity against Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Salmonella Typhimurium. Ultrasound-assisted extraction has proven to produce the most effective antimicrobial agents. Inhibitory potential towards glucosidase, amylase, cholinesterases, and tyrosinase was evaluated in enzyme inhibition assays and molecular docking simulations. Results show that leaves of P. tenuifolia L. obtained by ultrasound-assisted extraction had the highest acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase inhibitory activity. Namely, the complexity of the polyphenol structures, the extraction method, the used locality, and the different mechanisms of the reactions between bioactives from leaf extracts and other components (free radicals, microorganisms, and enzymes) are the main factors that influence the results of the antioxidant tests, as well as the antibacterial and enzyme-inhibitory activities of the extracts. Hydroxymethyl-phenyl pentosyl-hexoside and acetyl-hydroxyphenyl-hexoside were the first time identified in the leaf extract of the Paeonia species. Due to their proven biological activities and the confirmed existence of bioactive compounds, leaf extracts may find use in foodstuffs, functional foods, and pharmaceutical products.

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