Scientific research on the conservation and effective use of two species of Berberis wallichiana DC and Mahonia bealei (Fortune) Pynaert which belong to the Berberidaceae Juss family in Vietnam

The Berberidaceae family in Vietnam has four branches and nine species, distributed mainly in highlands areas in the northern mountainous provinces and Lam Dong province. According to a number of published documents, 9 species in this family are used as medicine, treating diseases relating to digestion, eye pain, high blood pressure, lumbar pain, toothache and liver diseases.

A number of world studies on Mahonia bealei show that its leaves, stems and roots have the ability to prevent oxidization and inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells in humans. The alkaloid in this species’ root extracted at a concentration of 0.25 mg/ml results in inhibition of the A1 influenza viruses. In addition, studies have also demonstrated the antioxidant capacity of phenolic compounds extracted from Mahonia bealei’s leaves.




Mahonia bealei’s flowers and young fruits


In recent years, local residents in some provinces such as Lao Cai, Ha Giang and Cao Bang have strongly exploited some species in this family for sale, such as Mahonia nepalensis DC, M. leptodonta Gagnep, Mahonia bealei (Fortune) Pynaert, Berberis wallichiana DC and B. julianae Schneid), leading to remarkable reduction in the species’ density and reserves, leading to it being listed in the Red Book of Vietnam, the Mahonia bealei and the Berberis wallichiana, for example, at the EN level. So far our country has had only some studies on the Mahonia nepalensis DC chemical and biological activity and the conservation of Mahonia nepalensis DC. There are almost no studies on biological characteristics as well as chemical composition and biological activity of Berberis wallichiana DC and Mahonia bealei (Fortune) Pynaert.




Berberis wallichiana DC’s ripen fruits


Facing this situation, the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST) assigned the task of "Researching the scientific basis for the conservation and effective use of two species of Berberis wallichiana DC and Mahonia bealei (Fortune) Pynaert which belong to the Berberidaceae Juss family in Vietnam", Topic code: VAST.ĐLT.04/15-16, to the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources, carried out from January 2015 to June 2017. The topic belongs to biological diversity and biological active substances, chaired by by Dr. Bui Van Thanh.


After more than 2 years of implementation, the following results have been obtained:
Adding a large amount of information on the characteristics of biology, ecology and distribution of the Berberis wallichiana DC and Mahonia bealei (Fortune) Pynaert in Vietnam;


● Successfully developing a map of the two studied species’ distribution forecast in Vietnam;
● Providing initial data on multiplying the species by seedling or using their branches. Planting the cuttings of 15cm of Mahonia bealei (Fortune) Pynaert’s branches in winter reports high rate of survival. The branches are treated with growth regulators IBA at the concentration of 1,500ppm reports higher rate of survival than other substances in the experiments; the planting of Berberis wallichiana DC’s branches gets the highest result by planting branches of 20 centimetres long and being treated with IBA at the concentration of 1,500ppm. The seedlings of Mahonia bealei (Fortune) Pynaert and Berberis wallichiana DC report best results when freshly sown seeds in wet sand, at 78.5% and 81.17%, respectively.
● Studying the chemical composition of the two species Mahonia bealei and Berberis wallichiana. A total of 19 compounds were identified from the two studied species. Three new compounds, Bishexadecyl epiphyllate, 3-(4-hydroxy-3,5-dimethoxyphenyl)-3-ethoxy-2-sulfopropane-1-ol and 6α-acetoxystigmastan-3β-ol, were identified from the Mahonia bealei; six compounds first announced from the Berberis wallichiana were Berberal, Oxyberberine, Noroxyhydrastine, 8-oxypalmatine, Berberine and 3β,6α-dihydroxy-24R-ethyl-5α-cholestane; in addition, there were three compounds present in both studied species.
● Berberin compounds have toxic effects on prostate cancer DU145 and strong anti-inflammatory effect. 8-Oxypalmatine has strong effects on all three cells, A549 lung cancer, MDA-MB-231 breast cancer and DU145 prostate cancer.


The work has published one article in the journal under the category of SCIE; two domestic journals and one at the national conference and a program in support of training a PhD and 3 MA.


The topic was evaluated by the testing council for the excellent results on December 21, 2017.


Some other typical images:




Evaluation in the standard cell




Mahonia bealei (Fortune) Pynaert’s ripe fruits




Berberis wallichiana DC




Planting Mahonia bealei (Fortune) Pynaert’s branches after 90 days


Translated by Phuong Huyen
Link to Vietnamese version

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