Bioactive Triterpenic Acids: From Agroforestry Biomass Residues to Promising Therapeutic Tools
Rui M.A. Domingues, Angela R. Guerra, M. Duarte, Carmen S.R. Freire, Carlos P. Neto, Carlos M.S. Silva and Arnando J.D. Silvestre
Affiliation: CICECO and Department of Chemistry, University of Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal.
This review aims to provide an overview of the biogenetic origin of triterpenic acids (with particular emphasis
on ursolic, oleanolic and betulinic acids), on the analytical extraction and hyphenated methodologies (mainly GC-MS)
used on their identification and quantification, followed by an overview of the major sources of these components, indicating
their potential large scale production pathways, with especial emphasis on abundant agroforestry biomass residues.
The biological activity of ursolic, oleanolic and betulinic acids is described, focusing on their antitumoral potential as
modulators of growth inhibitory signals, evasion of apoptosis and angiogenesis. The future perspectives towards improved
therapeutic strategies using these triterpenic acids are also herein discussed.
Keywords: Antitumoral activity, betulinic acid, biological activity, birch bark, Eucalyptus, oleanolic acid, olive, triterpenic
acids, ursolic acid.
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