Identification of bioactive compounds and cytogenotoxicity of the essential oil from the leaves of Croton heliotropiifolius Kunth.
Croton heliotropiifolius Kunth, popularly known as “quince” and “velame”, has a high concentration of volatile oils in the leaves, and is widely used in folk medicine. The objectives of this work were to identify the phytochemical compounds and analyze the cytogenotoxicity of the essential oil from the leaves of C. heliotropiifolius Kunth. The oil was extracted by hydrodistillation and the phytochemical profile was detected by gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. In the toxicogenetics analysis, Allium cepa roots were exposed to 1% Dimethylsulfoxide and Methylmethanesulfonate (MMS, 10µg/mL), negative and positive controls, respectively, and to C. heliotropiifolius oil at six concentrations (0.32; 1.6; 8; 40; 200 and 1000 mg/L). The phytochemical profile showed 40 chromatographic bands, and 33 compounds were identified. α-pinene (16.70%) and 1,8-cineole (13.81%) were identified as the majority. Some of these identified secondary metabolites have biological and pharmacological activities already studied as antiseptic, insecticide, viricidal, fungicidal, analgesic, sedative, and anti-inflammatory, among others. In the A. cepa test, oil cytotoxicity was observed at concentrations of 0.32, 1.6, and 200 mg/L and genotoxicity at 200 and 1000 mg/L with micronuclei and significant chromosomal losses. Based on the results presented here, it can be concluded that the essential oil of C. heliotropiifolius leaves has monoterpene hydrocarbons, and oxygenated monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, and oxygenated sesquiterpenes, in addition to having a cytotoxic and genotoxic effect on A. cepa cells.