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Effects of CO2 on the Growth & Flavonoids of Two Medicinal Plants

Paper Reviewed
Stutte, G.W., Eraso, I. and Rimando, A.M. 2008. Carbon dioxide enrichment enhances growth and flavonoid content of two Scutellaria species. Journal of the American Society of Horticultural Science 133: 631-638.

Writing as background for their work, Stutte et al. (2008) say that "Scutellaria is a genus of herbaceous perennials of the Lamiaceae that includes several species with purported medicinal properties," citing Sato et al. (2000), Joshee et al. (2002), Awad et al. (2003) and Bonham et al. (2005). More particularly, they note that leaf extracts of Scutellaria barbata "have been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat liver and digestive disorders and cancers," citing Molony and Molony (1998); and they report that "research has shown extracts of S. barbata to be limiting to the growth of cell lines associated with lung, liver, prostate and brain tumors," citing Yin et al. (2004). Likewise, they add that extracts of Scutellaria lateriflora and the isolated flavonoids from its extracts have also been shown to have anti-oxidant, anti-cancer and anti-viral properties (Awad et al., 2003)."

Against this backdrop, Stutte et al. conducted a set of experiments "to determine the effects of CO2 enrichment on the growth of S. lateriflora and S. barbata and on production of six bioactive flavonoids, apigenin, baicalin, baicalein, chrysin, scutellarein and wogonin that have been reported to have anti-cancer and anti-viral properties (reviewed in Cole et al., 2007; Joshee et al., 2002)." Results indicated that "both species showed an increased growth rate and total biomass in response to CO2 enrichment from 400 to 1200 ppm CO2, and time to flowering was accelerated by 7 to 10 days." More specifically, they state that in the case of S. barbata, total flavonoid content increased 50% with enrichment of CO2 to 1200 ppm and 81% with enrichment to 3000 ppm. And in the case of S. lateriflora, they say that "the total content of the measured bioactive flavonoids increased 2.4 times with enrichment to 1200 ppm CO2, and 5.9 times with enrichment to 3000 ppm CO2."

In the concluding sentence of their paper's abstract, Stutte et al. say "these results indicate that the yield and pharmaceutical quality of Scutellaria species can be enhanced with controlled environment production and CO2 enrichment." And they (the results) also indicate that the same can qualitatively be said for Scutellaria and other such plants growing wild in the open air, as its CO2 concentration continues to gradually rise as a result of mankind's continued burning of coal, gas and oil.

Awad, R., Arnason, J.T., Trudeau, V., Bergeron, C., Budziinski, J.W., Foster, B.C. and Merali, Z. 2003. Phytochemical and biological analysis of skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora L.): A medicinal plant with anxiolytic properties. Phytomedicine 10: 640-649.

Bonham, M., Posakony, J., Coleman, L., Montgomery, B., Simon, J. and Nelson, P.S. 2005. Characterization of chemical constituents in Scutellaria baicalensis with antiondrogenic and growth-inhibitory activities towards prostate carcinoma. Clinical Cancer Research 11: 3905-3914.

Cole, I.B., Saxena, P.K. and Murch,S.J. 2007. Medicinal biotechnology in the genus scutellaria. In Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology - Plant 43: 318-327.

Joshee, N., Patrick, T.S., Mentreddy, R.S. and Yadav, A.K. 2002. Skullcap: Potential medicinal crop. In: Janick, J. and Whipkey, A. (Eds.). Trends in New Crops and New Uses. ASHS Press, Alexandria, Virginia, USA, p. 58-586.

Molony, D. and Molony, M.M.P. 1998. The American Association of Oriental Medicines Complete Guide to Chinese Herbal Medicine. Berkley Publishing Group, New York, New York, USA.

Sato, Y., Suzaki, S., Nishikawa, T., Kihara, M., Shibata, H. and Higuti, T. 2000. Phytochemical flavones isolated from Scutellaria barbata and antibacterial activity against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Journal of Entnopharmocology 72: 483-488.

Yin, X., Zhou, J., Jie, C., Xing, D. and Zhang, Y. 2004. Anticancer activity and mechanism of Scutellaria barbata extract on human lung cancer cell line A549. Life Sciences 75: 2233-2244.

Posted 22 October 2014