A preliminary assessment of singlet oxygen scavenging, cytotoxic and genotoxic properties of Geranium macrorrhizum extracts.

  • Petras Rimantas Venskutonis Department of Food Technology, Kaunas University of Technology, Lithuania. rimas.venskutonis@ktu.lt <rimas.venskutonis@ktu.lt>;
  • Veronika Dedonyte
  • Juozas Lazutka
  • Grazina Slapsyte
  • Audrone Maroziene
  • Ausra Nemeikaite-Ceniene
  • Narimantas Cenas
  • Giedrius Miliauskas


Strong radical-scavenging activity of Geranium macrorrhizum extracts isolated by using various solvent systems has been reported previously. This study aimed at expanding the knowledge on the bioactivities of antioxidatively active G. macrorrhizum butanol fraction, which was isolated from ethanolic extract (EB), and water fraction, which was isolated from water extract (WW) by measuring their singlet oxygen scavenging properties, as well as preliminary assessment of cytotoxicity and genotoxicity toward mammalian cells. The cytotoxicity (necrosis induction) of the extracts in bovine leukemia virus-transformed lamb kidney fibroblasts (line FLK) was partly prevented by antioxidants and stimulated by the prooxidant BCNU (N,N'-bis(2-chloroethyl)-N-nitrosourea). This indicates that the cytotoxicity of G. macrorrhizum extracts is at least partly attributed to their prooxidant action, presumably due to the formation of quinoidal products of their (auto)oxidation. The latter was evidenced by the nature of the peroxidase-catalyzed oxidation products, which supported DT-diaphorase-catalyzed oxidation of NADPH and participated in conjugation reactions with reduced glutathione. The genotoxic properties were studied using chromosome aberration (CA) and sister chromatid exchange (SCE) tests in human lymphocytes in vitro and Drosophila melanogaster somatic mutation and recombination test (SMART) in vivo. In the CA test, only the highest doses of both fractions significantly increased chromosome aberration frequency. In the SCE test, both fractions induced SCEs in a clear dose-dependent manner. G. macrorrhizum extracts were not genotoxic in the SMART test in vivo. Our data indicate that in spite of the possible beneficial (antioxidant) effects of Geranium extracts, the possibilities of their use as ingredients of functional foods and/or food supplements should be further examined due to their cyto- and genotoxic effects resulting mainly from the action of quercetin-derived components abundant in the extracts.