Chemical Analysis of Cultivated Hypoxis hemerocallidea using Thin Layer Chromatography

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  • 1 University of Pretoria, Department of Plant Production and Soil Science, Pretoria, Gauteng, 0002, South Africa

Hypoxis hemerocallidea (African potato) is in high demand as a medicinal plant and therefore it is becoming scarce in its natural habitat. Thus, the objective of this study was to investigate the effect of cultivation practices on the active ingredients of the corm over a 12-month period. Different TLC (Thin Layer Chromatography) methods were also investigated when separating the different compounds. Plants were grown under a tunnel in plastic bags containing bark or sand growing media. The planted corms were treated with different fertigation frequencies and harvesting took place during four seasons. The harvested material was sliced, freeze-dried, and ground into a fine powder. Different solvents, namely methanol, acetone, and chloroform (chosen for their polarity) were used to extract the compounds from the ground material. The extracted residues were redissolved and spotted as thin streaks onto TLC plates. The TLC plates were then developed in different solvents and sprayed with different chemicals to bring out the different compounds found in the plant extract. Results on the TLC plates indicated that the amount of residue extracted with different solvents were significantly different. Therefore, TLC methods need to be considered when separating the different compounds. The growing media affected the amount of compounds produced from the corms during the 12-month period. The harvest season also played a role in the amount of active ingredients produced during the year. Therefore, cultivation practices influence the occurrence of active ingredients of H. hemerocallidea.

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