Phytochemical screening and isolation of triterpenes and sterols from leaves of Clusia minor L.

Raisa Mangas Marin, José Carlos Leyva García, Regla María Becerra García, Adonis Bello Alarcón

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Introduction: Clusia is one of the most widely studied genera in the Clusiaseae family. Clusia minor L. is a wild shrub with scant phytochemical studies. The latex and leaves from this species are used in traditional medicine to treat warts and sores, respectively.
Objective: Evaluate the chemical composition of extracts obtained from leaves of Clusia minor L.
Methods: The leaves were selected and dried before the extraction process. The extracts were prepared by maceration using solvents of varying polarity (hexane, ethyl acetate and methanol) and by direct extraction with ethanol. All the extracts underwent phytochemical screening. The ethyl acetate extract was fractionated by column chromatography with silica gel. Structural elucidation of the compounds isolated was based on spectroscopic methods and comparison with nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) data reported for these compounds in the literature.
Results: The following secondary metabolites were identified in the extracts: anthraquinones, triterpenes, steroids, reducing sugars, phenolic compounds and flavonoids. Phytochemical analysis of hexane and ethyl acetate extracts led to isolation of pentacyclic triterpenes, friedelin and betulinic acid, as well as a mixture of the sterols β-sitosterol and stigmasterol.
Conclusions: Phytochemical screening revealed the presence of mainly phenolic compounds in all the extracts. The ethanolic extract was found to contain the greatest variety of secondary metabolites. This was the first time that betulinic acid was isolated from this species.

Key words: Clusia minor L., phenolic compounds, sterols, flavonoids, pentacyclic triterpenes.