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The influence of certain taxonomic and environmental parameters on biomass production and triterpenoid content in the leaves of Centella asiatica (L.) Urb. from Madagascar

Rahajanirina V., Rakotondralambo Raoseta S.O., Roger E., Razafindrazaka H., Pirotais S., Bouchet M., Danthu P.. 2012. Chemistry and Biodiversity, 9 (2) : p. 298-308.

DOI: 10.1002/cbdv.201100073

Centella asiatica (Apiaceae family; Talapetraka in Malagasy) is a tropical and subtropical plant with leaves containing glycotriterpenoids (asiaticosides) used in traditional and modern medicine. C. asiatica is collected exclusively in natural stands. It is Madagascar's second most important indigenous plant export. The objective in this study is to provide data which will make it possible to optimize the harvest and thus effectively develop this resource. Two foliar morphotypes were identified: morphotype A with small reniform leaves (leaf area ca. 4.5 cm2), found in the east of Madagascar, and morphotype B with large round leaves (up to 7.5 cm2) found in the west, with sympatric zones in the central part of the island. Morphotype A produces a higher biomass, and is twice as rich in asiaticosides as morphotype B. Significant variations in biomass yield and asiaticoside content are observed depending on the date of collection: higher during the rainy season (December to April) and lower during the dry season (June to August). Inter-annual variations are also observed. Populations located at around 800-1400 m altitude on the eastern side of Madagascar, in a sub-humid climate, appeared to be more productive. These results provide more precise information to the economic sector, which confirms the empirical choices made by collectors. They represent the first elements towards sustainable management of the resource, and maybe even domestication.

Mots-clés : apiaceae; plante médicinale; récolte; feuille; facteur du milieu; variation saisonnière; triterpénoïde; composition chimique; croissance; morphologie végétale; rendement des cultures; biomasse; climat subhumide; madagascar; centella asiatica

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