Biologically Active Components of the Western Ghats Medicinal Fern Diplazium esculentum

  • Ammatanda A. Greeshma
  • Kandikere R. Sridhar
  • Mundamoole Pavithra
Part of the Microorganisms for Sustainability book series (MICRO, volume 15)


The riparian fern Diplazium esculentum is nutritionally and medicinally valuable in the ethnic population of the Western Ghats of India. Fiddle heads of this fern are nutraceutically versatile and consumed similar to other leafy vegetables. The present study has addressed biologically active compounds (total phenolics, tannins, flavonoids, vitamin C, phytic acid, L-DOPA, trypsin inhibition and haemagglutination) and antioxidant potential (total antioxidant activity, ferrous ion-chelating capacity, reducing power, DPPH and ABTS radical-scavenging activities) in uncooked and cooked fiddle heads. Fiddle heads were devoid of L-DOPA as well as haemagglutinin activity. Total phenolics and flavonoids contents were not influenced by cooking, while tannins, vitamin C, phytic acid and trypsin inhibition activity were higher in uncooked than cooked fiddle heads. Among the antioxidant properties, total antioxidant activity and ferrous ion-chelating capacity were not influenced by cooking, whereas reducing power, DPPH and ABTS radical-scavenging activities were higher in uncooked than cooked fiddle heads. The principal component analysis was performed to ascertain the link between bioactive components and antioxidant potential of uncooked and cooked fiddle heads. Vitamin C and trypsin inhibition activity of uncooked fiddle heads influenced the ABTS radical-scavenging activity, while total phenolics, flavonoids and tannins of cooked samples influenced the total antioxidant activity, ferrous ion-chelating capacity and reducing power. Cooking has differentially influenced the bioactive components as well as antioxidant potential of fiddle heads. There also seems to be geographical difference in quantity of bioactive components (phenolics, flavonoids and vitamin C) as well as antioxidant potential (reducing power). Further insights are warranted to utilize different parts of the ethnically valued fern D. esculentum for nutritional and therapeutic advantages.


Antioxidant potential Bioactive compounds Ethnic value Leafy vegetable Non-conventional food Nutraceutical potential Riparian fern 



Authors are grateful to Mangalore University to perform this study in the Department of Biosciences. GAA greatly acknowledges the award of INSPIRE Fellowship, Department of Science and Technology, New Delhi, Government of India. KRS is grateful to the University Grants Commission, New Delhi, India, for the award of UGC-BSR Faculty Fellowship during the tenure of this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ammatanda A. Greeshma
    • 1
  • Kandikere R. Sridhar
    • 1
  • Mundamoole Pavithra
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiosciencesMangalore UniversityMangaloreIndia

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