Comparative study on enantiomeric excess of main akannin/shikonin derivatives isolated from the roots of three endemic Boraginaceae plants in China

Biomed Chromatogr. 2011 Oct;25(10):1067-75. doi: 10.1002/bmc.1570. Epub 2011 Feb 10.


This work systematically investigated the enantiomeric excess (e.e.) of main components isolated from the roots of three endemic Boraginaceae plants distributed extensively in China, named Arnebia euchroma (Royle) Johnst (A.e.), Lithospermum erythrorhizon Sieb. et Zucc. (L.e.) and Onosma confertum W. W. Smith (O.c.), and the optical purity of their hydrolysis products separately, by means of three different approaches. The influence of HCl on the e.e. values of the major constituents was also studied. Analysis of the absolute configurations and e.e. values of all the derivatives acquired was performed by CD and chiral-HPLC respectively. The results of the main constituents demonstrated that A.e. mainly yields S-form naphthoquinone derivatives, while the R-form is predominant in the derivatives of L.e. and O.c. The optical purity of alkannin and shikonin and their derivatives was not influenced by acid treatment in the course of separation and hydrolysis. Additionally, it was found that 100% e.e. of shikinon could be acquired from a specific shikinon ester derivative, β,β-dimethylacrylshikonin occurring in the roots of O.c., as did 100% e.e. of alkannin from β,β-dimethylacrylalkannin contained in the roots of A.e.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Boraginaceae / chemistry*
  • Boraginaceae / classification
  • China
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Circular Dichroism
  • Naphthoquinones / chemistry*
  • Naphthoquinones / isolation & purification
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / isolation & purification
  • Plant Roots / chemistry
  • Stereoisomerism


  • Naphthoquinones
  • Plant Extracts
  • alkannin
  • shikonin