Background: Libanotis transcaucasica Schischk. belonging to the family of Apiaceae is a perennial plant that is distributed in Europe, northwest of Iran and also Caucasia.
Purpose: Due to the interest on development of drugs from natural origins, we studied the components and cytotoxic activity of essential oil from L. transcaucasica.
Methods: The essential oil of L. transcaucasica was obtained by hydro distillation of its air-dried aerial parts and was analyzed by gas chromatography (GC-FID) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Cytotoxic activity of the essential oil was assessed on four human cancer cell lines (HeLa, LS180, MCF-7 and Raji).
Results: The yield of oil was 0.9% (w/w) and it had yellow color. Fifty-four compounds in L. transcaucasica representing 84.0% of the oil components were identified. Germacrene B (20.2%) was the most abundant compound in this oil, followed by isospathulenol (11.0%), germacrene D (9.2%) and kessane (5.5%). The volatile oil displayed weak to moderate cytotoxic activity in all evaluated human cancer cell lines (IC50 =0.9-0.2 mg/ml). The highest and the lowest cytotoxic effects were observed on Raji and LS180 cell lines, respectively.
Conclusion: Sesquiterpene hydrocarbons were identified as the main components of the essential oil (48.3%). The cytotoxic activity observed in the essential oil may be contributed to the existence of this group of hydrocarbons in the plant.