High-performance thin-layer chromatography linked with (bio)assays and FTIR-ATR spectroscopy as a method for discovery and quantification of bioactive components in native Australian plants
Many native Australian plants have a long history of use as medicinal and culinary herbs and some are considered to be equivalents to the Mediterranean herbs. However, while therapeutic properties of Mediterranean herbs are well documented, there is limited information on the medicinal use of the Australian native herbs. Extracts of five native Australian plants were characterised with FTIR-ATR spectroscopy in the fingerprint region and screened for enzyme inhibitory and antioxidant activities via effect-directed analysis (EDA) based on bioautography. High-performance thin-layer chromatography (HPTLC) coupled with microchemical and biochemical derivatization assays was used for EDA screening. Detected compounds with biological activities were identified via FTIR-ATR spectroscopy. All herbs showed antioxidant activity with lemon myrtle being the most active. The α-amylase inhibition, observed in native thyme, sea parsley and native bush was associated with the presence of phenolic acids, chlorogenic acid and caffeic acid. The investigation of botanicals by a fast, hyphenated HPTLC method, has allowed an effect-directed high-throughput screening, fast characterization of complex mixtures and detection of biologically active phytochemicals (bioprofiling).