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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Quality Assessment and Yield of Baikal Skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis) Grown at Multiple Locations Across Mississippi

Authors
item Zheljazkov, Valtcho - MS STATE UNIVERSITY
item Cantrell, Charles
item Ebelhar, M. Wayne - MSU-DREC
item Coker, Christine - S. MS BRANCH EXP. STN.
item Evans, William - TRUCK CROPS EXP. STN.

Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 6, 2007
Publication Date: August 1, 2007
Citation: Zheljazkov, V.D., Cantrell, C.L., Ebelhar, M., Coker, C., Evans, W.B. 2007. Quality Assessment and Yield of Baikal Skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis) Grown at Multiple Locations Across Mississippi. HortScience. 42(5):1183-1187.

Interpretive Summary: Baikal skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis) is an important medicinal plant with proven bioactivity. In the US and other countries, commercially available products containing extracts or derivatives from this plant species have been shown to have issues with consistency of chemical composition and bioactivity. In the US, these issues could be solved through domestic production of skullcap. The hypothesis of this study was that Baikal skullcap grown under the Mississippi climate would accumulate sufficient bioactive flavonoids baicalin and baicalein in the roots to justify domestic production, and that shoots of these plants might also contain the flavonoids of interest. Furthermore, skullcap could be developed as a high-value specialty (niche) crop for Mississippi and the other states in the Southern US. A replicated field experiment was conducted at four locations in Mississippi (Beaumont, Crystal Springs, Stoneville, and Verona) to test the hypothesis. This is the first report on flavonoid accumulation in Baikal skullcap roots and shoots grown in the US. The results from this study are promising and suggest that (1) Baikal skullcap grown in Mississippi accumulates similar amounts of baicalein and baicalin to skullcap grown in other regions, (2) flavonoid content in Baikal skullcap roots and shoots and yields might depend on climatic and growing conditions conditions, most probably temperature and soil type or availability of soil nutrients, and (3) Baikal skullcap could be developed as a high-value crop for Mississippi and possibly other regions of the US. Further research is needed to clarify the effect of environmental conditions and soil physical and chemical properties on the accumulation of flavonoids in skullcap roots and shoots, and on its economic feasibility.

Technical Abstract: Baikal skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis) is an important medicinal plant with proven bioactivity. In the US and other countries, commercially available products containing extracts or derivatives from this plant species have been shown to have issues with consistency of chemical composition and bioactivity. In the US, these issues could be solved through domestic production of skullcap. The hypothesis of this study was that Baikal skullcap grown under the Mississippi climate would accumulate sufficient bioactive flavonoids baicalin and baicalein in the roots to justify domestic production, and that shoots of these plants might also contain the flavonoids of interest. Furthermore, skullcap could be developed as a high-value specialty (nitche) crop for Mississippi and the other states in the Southern US. A replicated field experiment was conducted at four locations in Mississippi (Beaumont, Crystal Springs, Stoneville, and Verona) to test the hypothesis. The concentration of the main flavonoid, baicalin, in the roots ranged from 8.1 to 15.6%, while the concentration of baicalein varied from 0.2 to 1.2%. The flavonoid concentration was similar to that of the commercially available sample and followed concentratons reported in the literature. Chrysin was detected in the roots from one only location. Furthermore, the flavonoids apigenin, baicalein, baicalin, chrysin, and scutellarein were detected and quantified in the skullcap shoots. Overall, yields of dry roots tended to increase from southern to northern location. This is the first report on flavonoid accumulation in Baikal skullcap roots and shoots grown in the US. The results from this study are promising and suggest that (1) Baikal skullcap grown in Mississippi accumulates similar amounts of baicalein and baicalin to skullcap grown in other regions, (2) flavonoid content in Baikal skullcap roots and shoots and yields might depend on climatic and growing conditions conditions, most probably temperature and soil type or availability of soil nutrients, and (3) Baikal skullcap could be developed as a high-value crop for Mississippi and possibly other regions of the US. Further research is needed to clarify the effect of environmental conditions and soil physical and chemical properties on the accumulation of flavonoids in skullcap roots and shoots, and on its economic feasibility.

Last Modified: 10/31/2014
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