Medicinal properties of berry extracts from Elaeagnus umbellata and Lindera benzoin

Friday, 13 February 2015
Exhibit Hall (San Jose Convention Center)
Lianne Duscio, Pisgah Forest, NC
In American society, people are dependent on pharmaceutical drugs to cure most illnesses, but what if there was a healthier, safer, and inexpensive alternative? The purpose of this project was to find the presence of antioxidants, ascorbic acid, and anti-tumor agents in the berries of the invasive plant Elaeagnus umbellata (Autumn Olive) and the native plant Lindera benzoin (Spicebush). The Agrobacterium tumefaciens-potato disk assay was used to determine the presence of anti-tumor agents in the extract.  In this assay, it was difficult to determine if the berries of each species had anti-tumorous properties due to the limited trials.  As a result, there is no conclusive data as to whether these berries are anti-tumorous.  The phenol indophenol dye method was used to determine the amount of ascorbic acid in Autumn Olive berries.  5.9mg of ascorbic acid was detected per 100g of Autumn Olive berries, comparable to levels found in apples.  However, due to the dark color of the Spicebush extract, similar tests could not be conducted on this type of berry.  To test for the presence of antioxidants, the DPPH method determined that both Autumn Olive berries and Spicebush berries contained approximately four times the antioxidant power of BHT, a common food preservative.