Single Laboratory Validation of a Quantitative Core Shell-Based LC Separation for the Evaluation of Silymarin Variability and Associated Antioxidant Activity of Pakistani Ecotypes of Milk Thistle (Silybum Marianum L.)


Fruits of Silybum marianum (L.) Gaernt are the main source of taxifolin derived flavonolignans. Together, these molecules constitute a mixture called silymarin with many useful applications for cosmetic and pharmaceutic industries. Here, a validated method for the separation of the silymarin constituents has been developed to ensure precision and accuracy in their quantification. Each compound was separated with a high reproducibility. Precision and repeatability of the quantification method were validated according to the AOAC recommendations. The method was then applied to study the natural variability of wild accessions of S. marianum. Analysis of the variation in the fruits composition of these 12 accessions from Pakistan evidenced a huge natural diversity. Correlation analysis suggested a synergistic action of the different flavonolignans to reach the maximal antioxidant activity, as determined by cupric ion reducing antioxidant capacity (CUPRAC) and ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) assays. Principal component analysis (PCA) separated the 12 accessions into three distinct groups that were differing from their silymarin contents, whereas hierarchical clustering analysis (HCA) evidenced strong variations in their silymarin composition, leading to the identification of new silybin-rich chemotypes. These results proved that the present method allows for an efficient separation and quantification of the main flavonolignans with potent antioxidant activities.


Antioxidant activities
Core shell column
Silybum marianum, Silymarin
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