Phytochemical analysis of boreal forest flora of Northwestern Ontario, Canada
Romaniuk, Jazmin Charmaine Mayryka Julia
Master of Science
SubjectFlora develop chemical defences
Bioactive plant compounds
Phytochemical constituent investigation of flora
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The following research document has been written in the format of a thesis by publication. As such, there is an introductory and concluding chapter to provide addition information and context to the scope of the study, though the major research is contained in the three chapters (chapters 2-4). Each chapter focusses on the phytochemical analysis of one of three flora species selected from the Boreal forest habitat of Northwestern Ontario, Canada. Each of the chapters are prepared as manuscripts and contain an introduction, method, results, discussion, and conclusion, also including references that pertain to each individual chapter. The original research is in the process of being submitted for publication in peer reviewed journals. The three species that were chosen for this study were the Sweet flag (Acorus calamus var. americanus (Raf.) H. Wulff), Sweet gale (Myrica gale L.) and Wild ginger (Asarum canadense L.). These are aromatic plants and each of these plants contain and release volatile aromatic compounds that are detectable by human olfactory senses. Many of the aromatic and compounds found in these plants have known bioactive properties. Testing using Gas Chromatography coupled Mass Spectrometry (GCMS) was conducted to identify and report on the phytochemical constituents present in the selected flora species. Phytochemical constituents can aid in the chemotaxonomic placement of flora species within its taxonomic placement, such as the determination of species sub-variety (ie. the Acorus variation, americanus). As well, phytochemical analysis can also identify compounds of bioactive interest, which includes medicinal properties, such as with the aromatic compound limonene and its sought-after anxiolytic-like properties (Lima et al., 2013). The introduction establishes the background geographical and botanical characteristics of the plants analysed. The analysis of Acorus calamus var. americanus (Raf.) H. Wulff by GCMS, in this research, characterises much of the phytochemicals and confirms the absence of β-asarone, a bioactive compound found in the European species, Acorus calamus L. Sweet gale, Myrica gale L., has previously been reported to have different chemical composition relative to its geographical location, making chemotaxonomic identification of species challenging. However, it does provide support for the chemotaxonomic classification of Sweet gale into various geographically defined varieties, enabling determination of the geographic origins of plants identified. The phytochemical analysis has never been performed for Sweet gale found in Northwestern, Ontario for this chemotaxonomic geographical characterisation. The analysis of the Asarum canadense L., Wild ginger, has confirmed the absence of compounds (like β-asarone) that have been found in other related species and identified compounds pertinent for its medicinal use in Northwestern Ontario, Canada. The phytochemical analysis has also provided a geographically relevant chemotaxonomic characterisation for the region. The results of these analyses provide the opportunity for chemotaxonomic geographic identification of three of the Northwestern Ontario plant species that have research interest elsewhere in the world.