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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter March 14, 2016

Characterization of the cardiac glycoside and lipid profiles of Strophanthus kombé Oliv. seeds

  • Diana N. Knittel , Peter Lorenz , Ursula Huber , Florian C. Stintzing and Dietmar R. Kammerer EMAIL logo


The seeds of Strophanthus kombé Oliv. are known to contain high levels of cardioactive compounds. However, the therapeutic use of Strophanthus in the treatment of cardiopathy requires more detailed knowledge of the compound profile to profit from the full potential of Strophanthus preparations. Therefore, the objective was to characterize the cardenolide profile and lipophilic constituents in S. kombé seeds using methods applicable in routine quality control. Freshly prepared S. kombé seed extracts were analyzed without previous sample clean-up using a novel HPLC-DAD-MSn method. In addition, seed oils were analyzed by GC-MS following derivatization of the lipids. More than 20 cardenolides were tentatively assigned in the seed extracts including strophanthidin, strophanthidol, periplogenin and strophanthidinic acid aglycones, carrying various saccharide moieties. The findings revealed the presence of eight novel cardenolides, which have not been described for S. kombé so far. The occurrence of strophanthidinic acid derivatives was verified by comparison with synthesized strophanthidinic acid-cymaropyranoside. GC-MS characterization of the oils mainly revealed the presence of fatty acids, especially oleic acid and linoleic acid, as well as phytosterols, the latter representing intermediates of cardenolide biosynthesis. In summary, these findings broaden our knowledge on the secondary metabolism of Strophanthus.

Dedicated to: Prof. Dr. habil. Dr. h.c. Reinhold Carle on the occasion of his 65th birthday.

Corresponding author: Dietmar R. Kammerer, WALA Heilmittel GmbH, Department of Analytical Development and Research, Section Phytochemical Research, Dorfstr. 1, 73087 Bad Boll/Eckwälden, Germany, Phone: +49 7164 930 6688, Fax: +49 7164 930 7080, E-mail:


The authors are grateful to Prof. Dr. Otmar Spring (Hohenheim University, Stuttgart) for the taxonomy of plant specimens, and we wish to thank Dr. Ines Lederer (PhytoLab GmbH, Vestenbergsgreuth) for HR-MS analyses.


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Received: 2015-8-4
Revised: 2015-11-25
Accepted: 2016-1-26
Published Online: 2016-3-14
Published in Print: 2016-3-1

©2016 by De Gruyter

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