Evaluation of fruit extracts of six Turkish Juniperus species for their antioxidant, anticholinesterase and antimicrobial activities
Juniperus L. (Cupressaceae) species are mostly spread out in the Northern Hemisphere of the world, and some of them are used as folkloric medicines. The fruits of some species are eaten. Since oxidative stress is one of the reasons for neurodegeneration and is associated with the Alzheimer's disease (AD), the extracts prepared from the fruits of six Juniperus species were screened for their antioxidant activity. Therefore, the extracts were also evaluated against acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and butyrylcholinesterase (BChE), which are chief enzymes in the pathogenesis of AD. In addition, antimicrobial activity was also evaluated. In the β-carotene-linoleic acid assay, acetone extracts of J. oxycedrus subsp. oxycedrus, J. sabina and J. excelsa, and methanol extracts of J. phoenicea and J. sabina, effectively inhibited oxidation of linoleic acid. The hexane extracts of J. oxycedrus subsp. oxycedrus, J. foetidissima and J. phoenicea showed remarkable inhibitory effect against AChE and BChE. Because of their high antioxidant activity, J. excelsa, J. oxycedrus subsp. oxycedrus, J. sabina and J. phoenicia might be used in the food industry as preservative agents or extension of the shelf-life of raw and processed foods. Since the hexane extracts of J. oxycedrus subsp. oxycedrus and J. foetidissima demonstrated significant anticholinesterase activity they should be considered as a potential source for anticholinesterase agents.