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Chemometric analysis and quantification of major anti-cancer activity compounds from leaves of soursop (Annona muricata Linn.)

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Soursop (Annona muricata) is used as an effective phytomedicine for treatment of cancer, and our study focused on chemometric analysis of anti-cancer compounds from leaf phytochemicals extracted with six varying solvents. GC–MS chemoprofiling of leaf extracts from ethyl acetate, ethanol, water, hexane, hexane: isopropanol (3:2) and acetonitrile resulted in identification of 52 phytochemicals. Of which, 12 compounds were reported to have anti-cancer activities. It consists of fatty acid derivatives and sesquiterpenes with higher relative abundance. Caryophyllene, n-hexadecanoic acid, oleic acid, phytols, squalene in ethyl acetate extracts were identified as predominant leaf phytochemicals through HCA. FT-IR analysis confirmed the presence of functional groups like hydroxyl groups, α, β-unsaturated ketones, esters and carboxylic acids stretching vibrations in all leaf extracts. Interestingly, 2ʹ-hydroxy-5ʹ methylchalcone (flavonoid) is reported for the first time using GC–MS and FT-IR techniques. Quantitatively, ethyl acetate leaf extracts recorded the highest concentration of major annonaceous acetogenin, annonacin (5.76 ± 0.002 mg AN g−1 of sample) and flavonoids (31.112 ± 0.5763 mg QE g−1 of sample), both possessing reported anti-cancer activity. In addition, phenolics (14.63 ± 0.34 mg GAE g−1 of sample) and alkaloids (18.11 ± 0.21 mg QN g−1 of leaf sample) of reasonable concentration are also present in ethyl acetate extract. Maximum concentration of total phenolics is from water (21.13 ± 0.23 mg GAE g−1 of sample) and alkaloids from hexane (19.911 ± 0.10 mg QN g−1 of sample) extracts. Chemoprofiling of major marker compounds with anti-cancer activity from leaves of A. muricata could be helpful in developing better formulations for cancer treatment.

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Annonaceous acetogenins


Total phenolic content


Total flavonoid content


Total alkaloid content


Annonacin content


Ethyl acetate






Hexane and isopropanol




Gas chromatography mass spectroscopy


High-performance thin-layer chromatography


Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy


Principal component analysis


Hierarchical clustering analysis


Standard deviation


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The whole study was conceptualized and planned by HS. HS guided PM in carrying the research work. PM and HS contributed equally in both experimentation and manuscript preparation process.

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Correspondence to Haripriya Shanmugam.

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Appendix A. Supplementary Data. Supplementary data to this article can be found online at DOI: which includes Fig. S1-Leaf phytochemicals from A. muricata were extracted with varying solvent polarity namely acetonitrile, water, ethanol, ethyl acetate, hexane/ isopropanol (3:2) and hexane and Table S1. List of compounds with reported bioactivity identified from the leaves of A. muricata using GC–MS analysis with varying solvent polarity (DOC 258 KB)

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Mohitha, P., Shanmugam, H. Chemometric analysis and quantification of major anti-cancer activity compounds from leaves of soursop (Annona muricata Linn.). Chem. Pap. 77, 6069–6081 (2023).

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