Investigation for bioactive compounds of Aerva lanata (L.) Juss. ex Schultes


A. Anandan1, R. Eswaran1, A.Doss2, G. Sangeetha3 and S. P. Anand2*

1Department of Genetics and Plant Breeding, Annamalai University, Annamali Nagar - 608 002, Tamil Nadu, India

2PG & Research Department of Botany, National College (Autonomous), Tiruchirappalli - 620 001, Tamil Nadu, India

3Department of Plant Pathology, Annamalai University, Annamali Nagar - 608 002, Tamil Nadu, India,

*Corresponding Author E-mail:



Aerva lanata commonly known as “Sunny khur” is widely used in Indian folk medicine for the treatment of various infectious diseases. This study was undertaken to analyze the various bioactive compounds of alcoholic extract of A.lanata using Chromatographic techniques. In this study, fatty acid esters, fatty acid amide, triterpene, diterpene alcohols and phytol were identified as the major chemical groups in the methanol fractions of A.lanata leaf extracts. Their structures were elucidated, on the basis of GC-MS data, D:B-Friedo-B’:A’-neogammacer-5-en-3-ol (3 β)- (33.60%), Myo-Inositol,4-C-methyl- (26.67%), Benzoic acid, 3,5-bis(1,1-dimehtylethyl)-4-hydroxy- (18.93%), 1,2-Benzenedicarboxylic acid, bis(2-methylpropyl) ester (7.73%), n-Hexadecanoic acid (7.73%), Phytol (1.87%) and Hexadecanoic acid, ethyl ester (1.60%). The results obtained fully indicated that the alcohol extract of A.lanata leaves had the great potential of noble natural medicines.


KEYWORDS: GC-MS, Fatty acids, Phytol, Methanol, titerpene




Herbal medicine is readily available in our diverse vegetation, cheap and above all carries the potentials of introducing new templates into modern medicine. Natural bioactive compounds especially from plant sources, including spices have been investigated for their characteristics and health effects. Most pharmaceuticals are based on plant component structures; as such, secondary metabolites enhance human immunity1. Historically, plants have provided a source of inspiration for novel drug compounds, as plant derived medicines have made large contributions to human health and well being. Their role is twofold in the development of new drugs: (1) they may become the base for the development of a medicine, a natural blue print for the development of new drugs or; (2) a phytomedicine to be used for the treatment of diseases2. A large number of phytochemicals belonging to several chemical classes have been shown to have inhibitory effect on all types of micro-organisms in vitro3  and some plant extracts have shown activity on both gram negative and gram positive organism.


Aerva lanata (Linn) Juss. Ex Schult. (Family: Amaranthaceae) is known as polpala. The plant is prostrate to decumbent, sometimes erect herb, 30 -60 cm in height, wolly, tomentose throughout; leaves simple, alternate, short petioled, densely tomentose, usually smaller in the flowering branches; flowers very small, sessile, bisexual, greenish or hairy white, often clustered in spikes, perianth calycine membranous, five free filaments of the five stamens connate at the base with alternating linear staminodes; fruit greenish, roundish, compressed urticle and seeds kidney shaped with shining black coriaceous testa, Plant is distributed throughout Tropical India as a common weed in fields and is also found to be growing in Arabia, Tropical Africa, Sri Lanka, Philippines and Java. It is commonly known as Chaya (Hindi), Sirupulai (Tamil) and Bhadra (Sanskrit). A. lanata has been claimed to be useful as diuretic, anthelmintic, antidiabetic, expectorant and hepatoprotective in traditional system of medicine4. Antimicrobial and cytotoxicity activity 5, diuretic 6, urolithiasis7 and anti-inflammatory8 activity of Aerva lanata has been reported. Canthin-6-one and beta-carboline alkaloids were isolated from Aerva lanata leaves 9 . Hence the present investigation was carried out to determine the possible chemical components from Aerva lanata leaves by Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectrum



Plant material

Aerva lanata was collected in Trichy District, Tamilnadu. The botanical identify of the plant was confirmed by Dr. V. Sampath kumar, Scientist C, Botanical Survey of India (Southern Circle), Coimbatore, Tamilnadu.


Plant sample extraction

50gm powdered plant material was soaked in 200ml of absolute alcohol overnight and then filtered through Whatman filter paper No.41 along with 2gm sodium sulfate to remove the sediments and traces of water in the filtrate. Before filtering, the filter paper along with sodium sulphate is wetted with absolute alcohol. The filtrate is then concentrated by bubbling nitrogen gas into the solution and reduce the volume to 1ml.The extract contains both polar and non-polar phytocomponents.


GC – MS Analysis

GC-MS analysis was carried out on a GC Clarus 500 Perkin Elmer system comprising a AOC-20i auto sampler and gas chromatograph interfaced to a mass spectrometer (GC-MS) instrument employing the following conditions: Column Elite-1 fused silica capillary column (30mm×0.25mm I.D ×1 μ M df, composed of 100% Dimethyl poly siloxane ), operating in electron impact mode at 70 eV; helium (99.999%) was used as carrier gas at a constant flow of 1ml/min and an injection volume of 0.5 μ l was employed (split ratio of10:1) injector temperature 250 °C; ion-source temperature 280 °C. The oven temperature was programmed from 110 °C (isothermal for 2 min), with an increase of 10 °C/min, to 200 °C, then 5 °C/min to 280 °C, ending with a 9 min isothermal at 280 °C. Mass spectra were taken at 70 eV; a scan interval of 0.5 seconds and fragments from 45 to 450 Da. Total GC running time is 46min.



The composition and identification of the main components present in the leaves of Aerva lanata are shown in (Table 1). Nine compounds were identified in A.lanata by GC-MS analysis. The active principles with their retention time (RT), molecular formula, molecular weight (MW) and concentration (%) are presented in (Table 1 and Fig 1). It was found that the main constituents of leaves D:B-Friedo-B’:A’-neogammacer-5-en-3-ol (3 β)- (33.60%), Myo-Inositol,4-C-methyl- (26.67%), Benzoic acid, 3,5-bis(1,1-dimehtylethyl)-4-hydroxy- (18.93%), 1,2-Benzenedicarboxylic acid, bis(2-methylpropyl) ester (7.73%), n-Hexadecanoic acid (7.73%), Phytol (1.87%) and Hexadecanoic acid, ethyl ester (1.60%).


Phytol was the main diterpene alcohols in methanol fraction. Phytol in the methanol fractions is a diterpene alcohol which functions as a precursor for Vitamins E and K1 and an antioxidant and a preventive agent against epoxide-induced breast cancer carcinogenesis. It’s also an effective vaccine adjuvant with no adverse auto-immune effects 10. Hexadecanoic acid methyl ester, also known as Methyl palmitate, in the methanol fraction is an aliphatic acid ester reported to cause growth inhibition and apoptosis induction in human gastric cancer cells11.


Hexadecanoic acid methyl ester, also known as Methyl palmitate, in the methanol fraction is an aliphatic acid ester reported to cause growth inhibition and apoptosis induction in human gastric cancer cells. Aerva lanata is a potential folklore medicinal plant used for many diseases and infections. Phytochemical analysis by GC-MS revealed presence of fatty acid esters, fatty acid amide, terpenoids, diterpene alcohols and phytol as major compound groups in the methanol fractions. Compositional variation in quantities, qualities and structural features may influence compounds behavior on GC-MS, as well as bioactivities of their precursor fractions.


Table 1: The Chemical Composition of Leaves of Aerva lanata (L.) Juss.ex Schultes






Peak area (%)





















1,2-Benzenedicarboxylic acid, bis(2-methylpropyl) ester






n-Hexadecanoic acid






Hexadecanoic acid, ethyl ester












Benzoic acid, 3,5-bis(1,1-dimehtylethyl)-4-hydroxy-






D:B-Friedo-B’:A’-neogammacer-5-en-3-ol (3 β)-





Fig. 1. GC-MS of leaves of Aerva lanata (L.) Juss. ex Schultes



1.       Atoui AK, Mansouri A, Boskou G. and Kefalas P.. Tea and herbal infusions: their antioxidant activity and phenolic profile. Food Chemistry. 89: 2005: 27-36.

2.       Igbinosa OO, Igbinosa EO. and Aiyegoro OA.  Antimicrobial activity and phytochemical screening of stem bark extracts from Jatropha curcas (Linn). African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology. 3(2): 2009:058-062.

3.       Cowan MM. Plant products as antimicrobial agents. Clinical  Microbiology Reviews. 12 (4): 1999:  564 – 582.

4.       Kiritikar KR and Basu BD. Indian Medicinal Plants. International book distributors.Dehradun, India. 1996. 2064 –2065.

5.       Dulaly C. Antimicrobial activity and cytotoxicity of Aerva lanata. Fitoterapia. 73:2002: 92-94.

6.       Udupihille M and Jiffry MTM. Diuretic effect of Aerva lanata with water, normal saline and coriander as controls. Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology. 30: 1986: 91-97.

7.       Rao SG. Evaluation of an experimental model for studying urolithiasis effect of Aerva lanata on urinary stones. Indian Drugs.  22: 1985: 640-643.

8.       Vetrichelvan T,  Jegadeesan M, Senthil Palaniappan S, Murali NP, Sasikumar K. Diuretic and anti inflammatory activities of Aerva lanata in rats. Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences.  62: 2000: 300-302.

9.       Zapesochnaya G., 1992. Canthin-6-one and beta-carboline alkaloids from Aerva lanata. Planta Medica.  58: 1992: 192- 196.

10.     Daniet A. Oyugi, Folahan O. Ayorinde, Ayele Gugssa, Adrian Allen, Ernest B. Izevbigie, Broderick Eribo. Biological Activity and Mass Spectrometric Analysis of Vernonia amygdalina Fractions. Journal of Bioscience and Technology. 2(3): 2011: 287 – 304.

11.    Anandan  A,  Eswaran R,  Doss  A,  Sangeetha G and Anand SP.  Chemical compounds investigation of Lucas aspera leaves – A Potential Folklore Medicinal Plant. Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research. 5(1): 2012: 86-88  




Received on 28.01.2012         Modified on 26.02.2012

Accepted on 18.03.2012         © AJRC All right reserved

Asian J. Research Chem. 5(4): April 2012; Page 469-471