Seed germination and triterpenoid content of Anemopaegma arvense (Vell.) Stellfeld varieties


Anemopaegma arvense (Vell.) Stellfeld, Bignoniaceae, is a native species of the Brazilian savanna (Cerrado) and is commonly known as catuaba among the local farmers. Seeds of three varieties were collected in different localities and submitted to germination and storage studies in attempting to domesticate this species as a medicinal crop for small farmers located in Brazilian Cerrado. Germination tests revealed that catuaba seeds presented a dormancy period of 6 weeks, and 63% of the seedlings have emerged after 12 weeks of the planting time. Storing catuaba seeds at low temperatures (−20 and −196°C) has not affected emergence and survival. These findings suggested that A. arvense seeds have an orthodox behavior resisting well to dehydration and low temperature storage. Three catuaba varieties were characterized morphologically and chemically. The presence of triterpenes such as oleanolic acid and betulinic acid were identified and quantified in these varieties. Previous report has shown that these compounds have promising anticancer activities and herein the results point that the aerial parts yielded more triterpenes than the roots. The combination of higher capacity and preferential accumulation of triterpenes in the aerial parts of catuaba makes this plant a potential candidate for agricultural production or in situ sustainable harvests as a promising alternative to the destructive collection of the natural population.

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Research funded by FAPESP, The State of Sao Paulo Research Foundation, Brazil. Project Number (Projeto tematico—Biota 99/10610).

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Correspondence to Rita M. Moraes.

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Pereira, A.M.S., Salomão, A.N., Januario, A.H. et al. Seed germination and triterpenoid content of Anemopaegma arvense (Vell.) Stellfeld varieties. Genet Resour Crop Evol 54, 849–854 (2007).

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  • Anemopaegma arvense
  • Bignoneaceae
  • Catuaba
  • Medicinal plant
  • Oleanolic acid
  • Seed germination
  • Triterpenes