Hydro-ethanol seed extract of Theobroma cacao exhibits antioxidant activities and potential anticancer property.
J Food Biochem. 2019 Apr ;43(4):e12767. Epub 2019 Feb 5. PMID: 31353596
Osaretin A T Ebuehi
Despite the nutritional value of Theobroma cacao seed (cocoa), the antiproliferative activity is yet to be fully elucidated. Therefore, the current study investigated the antioxidant and potential anticancer activities of the seed extract. The in-vitro free radical scavenging activity was evaluated via DPPH, nitric oxide, lipid peroxidation, and reducing power activity. The effect of the cocoa extract on mitotic cell division was determined using Allium cepa assay. The phytochemical screening of the seed extract revealed the presence of cardiac glycoside, phenol, tannin, steroid, terpinoid, alkaloid, saponin, and flavonoid at the following concentrations; 31.21 ± 0.57, 29.16 ± 0.43, 18.51 ± 0.06, 9.57 ± 0.08, 23.77 ± 0.08, 6.58 ± 0.04, 28.65 ± 0.13, and 22.16 ± 0.18 mg/100 g, respectively. The A. cepa assay revealed a significant influence of the extract on mitotic cell division in a concentration dependent manner, the antiproliferative effect suggests a potential anticancer property. PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS: The Cocoa plant has been of great nutritional benefit over the years. The seeds (Theobroma cacao) is used for making varieties of chocolate food beverages, chocolate candies, confectioneries, and food thickening, however, the anticancer activity is still an area of deliberation. Theobroma cacao seed extract scavenged diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl radical, nitric oxide, lipid peroxidation at 50.03 ± 1.48% at a concentration of 60 µg/ml, 50.84 ± 0.88% at 40 µg/ml, and 50.79 ± 0.37% at 40 µg/ml, respectively. The reducing power activity was 0.329 ± 0.001 per 100 µg/ml. The Gas Chromatography Mass Spectroscopy analysis showed the most abundant compound to be caffeine (98.09%). Mild quantities of hexa-decanoic acid, methyl extract were also detected. The hydro-alcohol extract of Theobroma cacao seeds exhibited high antioxidant and antimitotic activities, suggesting a possible cytotoxic potential against abnormal cell growth, such as cancer. This study substantiates its ethno-medicinal use in the prevention and control of cancer.