New Licorice Varieties with Health-Boosting Compounds for Better Production

Jenn Hoskins
15th May, 2024

New Licorice Varieties with Health-Boosting Compounds for Better Production

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • The study by Shahid Beheshti University identified specific licorice genotypes rich in glycyrrhizic acid (GA) and glabridin
  • These genotypes can be used to develop new licorice cultivars, ensuring a stable and efficient source of high-quality raw materials for pharmaceuticals
  • Cultivating these genotypes can reduce the need to harvest wild licorice, helping to preserve natural habitats
The need for stable, uniform, and highly efficient production of raw materials for pharmaceutical companies has become increasingly important. To address this need and alleviate the pressure on natural habitats of licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra L.), cultivation of this valuable plant is essential. A recent study conducted by Shahid Beheshti University aimed to identify genotypes rich in glycyrrhizic acid (GA) and glabridin from cultivated Iranian licorice[1]. This study evaluated forty genotypes from eight high-potential wild populations under the same environmental conditions to determine their suitability for pharmaceutical use. Licorice has been widely used as a medicinal herb since ancient times, with a range of pharmacological effects on the digestive, immune, and cardiovascular systems[2]. It contains various phytocompounds, including glycyrrhizin and glabridin, which exhibit antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antioxidant, and antidiabetic activities[3]. However, the sustainable and efficient production of these compounds has been a challenge. The study by Shahid Beheshti University addresses this by focusing on the cultivation of licorice to ensure a consistent supply of high-quality raw materials. In the study, the GA content among the genotypes varied significantly, ranging from 5.00 ± 0.04 mg/g DW in the TF2 genotype to 23.13 ± 0.02 mg/g DW in the I5 genotype. Similarly, glabridin content ranged from 0.02 ± 0.002 mg/g DW in the M5 genotype to 0.72 ± 0.021 mg/g DW in the K2 genotype. Additionally, the rutin content in the leaves varied from 1.27 ± 0.02 mg/g DW in the E4 genotype to 3.24 ± 0.02 mg/g DW in the BO5 genotype. The genotypes from the Ilam population displayed higher vegetative growth and yield traits in both the aerial parts and roots, with an average root dry yield of 2.44 tons per hectare (t/ha) and a maximum yield of 3.08 ± 0.034 t/ha in the I5 genotype. The findings of this study are significant as they identify specific genotypes that are rich in GA and glabridin, which can be used in future breeding programs to develop new licorice cultivars. These cultivars can provide a stable and efficient source of high-quality raw materials for pharmaceutical companies, reducing the need to harvest wild populations and thereby preserving natural habitats. The study also highlights the broader implications of licorice cultivation. In recent years, there has been a growing demand for plants used in traditional medicine to be incorporated into foods, nutraceuticals, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals[3]. The ability to cultivate licorice with high levels of valuable compounds like GA and glabridin can help meet this demand while ensuring the safety and efficacy of the products. Moreover, glycyrrhizic acid, one of the key compounds in licorice, has shown great potential as a carrier material in drug delivery systems, particularly in anticancer therapy[4]. The combination of GA with first-line drugs has demonstrated better therapeutic effects on cancers, resistance to tissue toxicity caused by chemotherapy and radiation, and anti-multidrug resistance mechanisms. The cultivation of GA-rich licorice genotypes can thus contribute to the development of novel drug delivery systems, offering new opportunities and challenges in cancer treatment. In conclusion, the study conducted by Shahid Beheshti University provides valuable insights into the cultivation of licorice and the identification of genotypes rich in glycyrrhizic acid and glabridin. These findings have significant implications for the pharmaceutical industry, traditional medicine, and drug delivery systems, offering a sustainable and efficient source of high-quality raw materials. By incorporating these genotypes into breeding programs, it is possible to develop new licorice cultivars that can meet the growing demand for natural medicines and contribute to human well-being.

HerbsAgriculturePlant Science


Main Study

1) Introducing the glycyrrhizic acid and glabridin rich genotypes from the cultivated Iranian licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra L.) populations to exploit in production systems.

Published 14th May, 2024

Related Studies

2) Licorice: Resources, applications in ancient and modern times.

3) Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra): A phytochemical and pharmacological review.

4) Glycyrrhizic acid: A promising carrier material for anticancer therapy.

Related Articles

An unhandled error has occurred. Reload 🗙