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Concept: Dioscorea opposita


A 70-kDa galactose-specific lectin was purified from the tubers of Dioscorea opposita cv. nagaimo. The purification involved three chromatographic steps: anion exchange chromatography on a Q-Sepharose column, FPLC-anion exchange chromatography on a Mono Q column, and FPLC-gel filtration on a Superdex 75 column. The purified nagaimo lectin presented as a single 35-kDa band in reducing SDS-PAGE while it exhibited a 70-kDa single band in non-reducing SDS-PAGE suggesting its dimeric nature. Nagaimo lectin displayed moderate thermostability, retaining full hemagglutinating activity after heating up to 62°C for 30 minutes. It also manifested stability over a wide pH range from pH 2 to 13. Nagaimo lectin was a galactose-specific lectin, as evidenced by binding with galactose and galactose-containing sugars such as lactose and raffinose. The minimum concentration of galactose, lactose and raffinose required to exert an inhibitory effect on hemagglutinating activity of nagaimo lectin was 20 mM, 5 mM and 40 mM, respectively. Nagaimo lectin inhibited the growth of some cancer cell lines including breast cancer MCF7 cells, hepatoma HepG2 cells and nasopharyngeal carcinoma CNE2 cells, with IC(50) values of 3.71 µM, 7.12 µM and 19.79 µM, respectively, after 24 hour treatment with nagaimo lectin. The induction of phosphatidylserine externalization and mitochondrial depolarization indicated that nagaimo lectin evoked apoptosis in MCF7 cells. However, the anti-proliferative activity of nagaimo lectin was not blocked by application of galactose, signifying that the activity was not related to the carbohydrate binding specificity of the lectin.

Concepts: Cancer, Breast cancer, Metastasis, Cancer staging, Glucose, Nasopharyngeal carcinoma, Yam, Dioscorea opposita


Abstract Twenty-three phenolic compounds were isolated from Dioscorea opposita by bioactivity-guided method and their inhibitory effect against pancreatic lipase was evaluated. A total of 15 isolates reduced lipase activity at IC(50) values of less than 50 µM and 3,3',5-trihydroxy-2'-methoxybibenzyl showed the highest inhibition with an IC(50) value of 8.8 µM. This study is a first to reveal the pancreatic lipase inhibitory activity by both D. opposita and its isolated compounds.

Concepts: Enzyme, Tropical agriculture, Value, Lipase, Pancreatic lipase, Yam, Dioscorea, Dioscorea opposita


The yam (Dioscorea opposita Thunb) is a well-known edible food and widely used as the traditional Chinese medicine. The present investigation was designed to evaluate the immunomodulatory activity of glycoprotein (DOT) from yam and explore its possible molecular mechanisms. Results showed that the DOT could improve the cell immunity, humoral immunity and phagocytic system function of the normal mice. The DOT could also increase the production of TNF-α, interleukin-6 and nitric oxide and enhance the pinocytosis function of macrophages. Furthermore, the DOT increased phosphor-p38, JNK, ERK1/2 and nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) p65 protein expression in peritoneal macrophages. Taken together, our data suggest that DOT could be used as a potential immunostimulant and exert its immunomodulatory activity via mitogen-activated protein kinases and NF-κB signal pathways. Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, Signal transduction, Immunology, Humoral immunity, Yam, Dioscorea, Dioscorea opposita


Three grinding stones from Shizitan Locality 14 (ca. 23,000-19,500 calendar years before present) in the middle Yellow River region were subjected to usewear and residue analyses to investigate human adaptation during the last glacial maximum (LGM) period, when resources were generally scarce and plant foods may have become increasingly important in the human diet. The results show that these tools were used to process various plants, including Triticeae and Paniceae grasses, Vigna beans, Dioscorea opposita yam, and Trichosanthes kirilowii snakegourd roots. Tubers were important food resources for Paleolithic hunter-gatherers, and Paniceae grasses were exploited about 12,000 y before their domestication. The long tradition of intensive exploitation of certain types of flora helped Paleolithic people understand the properties of these plants, including their medicinal uses, and eventually led to the plants' domestication. This study sheds light on the deep history of the broad spectrum subsistence strategy characteristic of late Pleistocene north China before the origins of agriculture in this region.

Concepts: Human, Maize, Pleistocene, Last Glacial Maximum, Ice age, Last glacial period, Yam, Dioscorea opposita


The mucilage polysaccharides from Dioscorea opposita (DOMP) were extracted and treated with a single/dual enzymatic hydrolysis. The characterisation and viscosity were subsequently investigated in this study. DOMP obtained 62.52% mannose and 23.45% glucose. After single protease and trichloroacetic acid (TCA) treatments, the mannose content was significantly reduced to 3.96%, and glucose increased from 23.45% to 45.10%. Dual enzymatic hydrolysis also decreased the mannose and glucose contents to approximately 18%-35% and 7%-19%, respectively. The results suggest that enzymatic degradation could effectively remove the protein from DOMP accompanied by certain polysaccharides, especially mannose. The molecular weight, surface morphology, viscosity and particle sizes were measured. Enzymatic hydrolysis reduced molecular weight, decreased the viscosity, and increased the particle sizes, which indicates that the characterisations of DOMP samples were altered as structures changed. This study was a basic investigation into characterisation of DOMP to contribute to the processing of food by-products.

Concepts: Protein, Adenosine triphosphate, Enzyme, Glucose, Starch, Carbohydrate, Hydrolysis, Dioscorea opposita


Three new Chinese yam polysaccharides (namely HSY, huaishanyao in Chinese) were isolated using the methods of boiled water extraction and stepwise ethanolic precipitation, combined with the tangential flow ultrafiltration membrane system. Their molecular weights were determined by high performance gel permeation chromatography. Three type yam polysaccharides in different molecular weight were isolated: HSY-I (>50 kDa), HSY-II (10 to 50 kDa), HSY-III (<10 kDa). The monosaccharide and glycosidic bond links composition were analyzed with GC and Smith degradation. The structure characteristics were further discussed combined with infrared spectrophotometry. Dexamethasone-induced insulin resistance glucose/lipid metabolism diabetic mice model was established to evaluate the hypoglycemic effect of different concentration of HSY and different molecular weights polysaccharide HSY-I, HSY-II, and HSY-III. The results indicated that the HSY polysaccharide mixture, HSY-I and HSY-II had hypoglycemic effect.

Concepts: Water, Starch, Polysaccharide, Cellulose, Carbohydrate chemistry, Glycosidic bond, Dioscorea, Dioscorea opposita


Dioscorea opposita Thunb, commonly known as “yam” that has a long dietary therapy history for diabetes, is widely consumed as a botanical dietary supplement and widely cultivated in China. In this work, a method for rapid screening of α-glucosidase inhibitors from Dioscorea opposita Thunb peel extract was developed using α-glucosidase functionalized magnetic nanoparticles (αG-MNPs) as a solid phase extraction absorbent in combination with high performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS). Two α-glucosidase inhibitors were selectively extracted and identified as batatasin I and 2,4-dimethoxy-6,7-dihydroxyphenanthrene. Their α-glucosidase inhibitory activities (IC50 = 2.55 mM and 0.40 mM, respectively) were significantly higher than that of acarbose (as control). Taking advantage of the specificity in enzyme binding and the convenience of magnetic separation, this method has great potential for rapid and fast screening of α-glucosidase inhibitors from complex natural resources.

Concepts: Magnetism, Dioscorea opposita


This study investigated the chemical components and rheological properties of polysaccharides from Dioscorea opposita Thunb. Graded alcohol precipitation was used to extract Dioscorea opposita polysaccharide samples (S1, S2, S3 and S4). The monosaccharides, amino acid content and molecular weight of each sample were measured and compared. The rheological properties of the polysaccharide samples at different concentrations, temperatures and pH values were studied. The rheological properties of S1, S2 and S3 exhibited pseudoplastic properties and “gel-like” behaviour. The viscosity of S1 was improved with rising temperatures, especially temperatures higher than 80°C, which may be caused by the starch gelatinisation. The acidic and basic environments may break the structures of S3 and S4. However, the extreme conditions improved the viscosity of S1. This work was a basic investigation of the Dioscorea opposita polysaccharides, contributing to the function of yam products and applications of natural thickeners in the food industry.

Concepts: Protein, Acid, Water, Starch, Cell wall, PH, Carbohydrate, Dioscorea opposita


Tropical starches from Dioscorea dumetorum (bitter) and Dioscorea oppositifolia (Chinese) yams were acetylated with acetic anhydride in pyridine medium and utilized as polymers for the delivery of repaglinide in microsphere formulations in comparison to ethyl cellulose. Acetylated starches of bitter and Chinese yams with degrees of substitution of 2.56 and 2.70 respectively were obtained. Acetylation was confirmed by FTIR, (1)H NMR spectroscopy. A 3(2) factorial experimental design was performed using polymer type and drug-polymer ratio as independent variables. Particle size, swelling, entrapment and time for 50% drug release (t50) were dependent variables. Contour plots showed the relationship between the independent factors and the response variables. All variables except swelling increased with drug: polymer ratio. Entrapment efficiency and was generally in the rank of Bitter yam>Ethyl cellulose>Chinese yam. Repaglinide microspheres had size 50±4.00 to 350 ±18.10μm, entrapment efficiency 75.30±3.03 to 93.10±2.75% and t50 3.20±0.42 to 7.20±0.55h. Bitter yam starch gave longer dissolution times than Chinese yam starch at all drug-polymer ratios. Drug release fitted Korsmeyer-Peppas and Hopfenberg models. Acetylated bitter and Chinese yam starches were found suitable as polymers to prolong release of repaglinide in microsphere formulations.

Concepts: Ethanol, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Starch, Hydrolysis, Acetic anhydride, Yam, Dioscorea, Dioscorea opposita


The mucilage polysaccharide was extracted from Dioscorea opposita in cold water and then degraded in two reagents hydrogen peroxide and ascorbic acid. Three low-molecular-weight-samples were prepared, and their antioxidant and antimutagenic activity were investigated. Chemical composition analysis indicated that the degradation action was in a concentration dependent manner. Total sugars content of three degraded samples were significantly higher than raw sample. The uronic acid content in the degraded sample LP3 was significantly higher than other samples. LP3 processed the higher scavenging effect on hydroxyl and superoxide radicals than other two degraded samples because of its lower molecular weight and more uronic acid. LP3 processed the excellent antimutagenic activity and higher anti-lipid peroxidation in garlic roots. There maybe a certain relationship between the two activities. The present results indicated this mucilage could be a potential candidate of the natural antimutagen.

Concepts: Oxygen, Acid, Antioxidant, Water, Reactive oxygen species, Vitamin C, Ascorbic acid, Dioscorea opposita