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Biological Research

Print version ISSN 0716-9760


CHEN, Yuhang et al. Plant morphology, physiological characteristics, accumulation of secondary metabolites and antioxidant activities of Prunella vulgaris L. under UV solar exclusion. Biol. Res. [online]. 2019, vol.52, 17.  Epub June 13, 2019. ISSN 0716-9760.


Prunella vulgaris L. has been an important medicinal plant for the treatment of thyroid gland malfunction and mastitis in China for over 2000 years. There is an urgent need to select effective wavelengths for greenhouse cultivation of P. vulgaris as light is a very important factor in P. vulgaris growth. Here, we described the effects of natural light (control) and UV solar exclusion on the morphological and physiological traits, secondary metabolites contents and antioxidant activities of P. vulgaris.


The results showed that UV solar exclusion resulted in remarkable alterations to morphological and biomass traits; significantly reduced the chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b and total chlorophyll contents; significantly enhanced the ratio of chlorophyll a to b; and significantly increased the carotenoid and anthocyanin contents in P. vulgaris. UV solar exclusion significantly increased the catalase (CAT) and peroxidase (POD) activities, increased superoxide dismutase (SOD) and ascorbate peroxidase (APX) activities and slightly decreased the glutathione (GSH) content. UV solar exclusion significantly increased the soluble sugar and H2O2 contents and increased the soluble protein content but significantly decreased the proline content and slightly decreased the MDA content. The secondary metabolite contents (total phenolics, rosmarinic acid, caffeic acid, hyperoside, ursolic acid and oleanolic acid) and in vitro antioxidative properties (DPPH· and ABTS·+scavenging activities) were significantly increased in P. vulgaris spicas under UV solar exclusion. Additionally, the total polysaccharide and total flavonoids contents were slightly increased by UV solar exclusion. The salviaflaside content was significantly reduced by UV solar exclusion.


Our study demonstrated that P. vulgaris activates several antioxidant defence systems against oxidative damage caused by UV solar exclusion.

Keywords : Prunella vulgaris L.; UV exclusion; Physiological traits; Secondary metabolites; Antioxidants.

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