Investigation on the Effects of Hydroponic-planting Versus Soil-planting Using Plectranthus amboinicus as a Plant Model


  • Shaila Mohana Dass Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman
  • Tsun-Thai Chai Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman
  • Fai-Chu Wong Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman



Antioxidant enzymes, biochemical, phytochemicals, food security, hydroponics, nutritional contents


Hydroponic system is a method of growing crops or plants in a soilless system, by suspending the plant crops in a nutrient-rich solution, with reduced interferences from such factors as soil quality, irrigation and climate. However, there is limited information available on how hydroponic planting will affect the plant’s bioactivities, as well as the associated biochemical, mineral, phytochemical and antioxidant enzyme contents. In this study, we used Plectranthus amboinicus (Indian borage) as a medicinal plant model, to investigate the differences between hydroponic-planted (HP) versus soil-planted (SP) plants. Here, aqueous extracts of Indian borage from HP and SP samples were prepared, followed by testing for their phytochemical, mineral, chlorophyll and carotenoid contents. Based on our results, SP sample was detected with higher antioxidant potentials, using two different radical scavenging assays. This observation is correlating to the higher phytochemical contents (total phenolic, flavonoid, and hydroxycinnamic acids contents), as well as higher chlorophyll and carotenoid contents, detected in the SP sample. However, no significant difference was detected between HP and SP samples, in terms of their protein protection potentials. On the other hand, HP sample was tested with higher mineral contents (iron, copper, magnesium and calcium) using the atomic absorption spectroscopy method. Additionally, higher antioxidative enzymes (superoxide dismutase, catalase) were also detected in the HP sample using biochemical assays. In the future study, more plant models can be included in the comparison between HP and SP effects, to determine if a similar phenomenon is observed. Through similar studies, it is hoped that more related information could be gathered and help to guide the choice of suitable planting systems with regard to food security, in terms of both harvest yields and nutritional contents.


Swamy MK, Arumugam G, Kaur R, Ghasemzadeh A, Yusoff MM, Sinniah UR (2017) GC-MS Based Metabolite Profiling, Antioxidant and Antimicrobial Properties of Different Solvent Extracts of Malaysian Plectranthus amboinicus Leaves. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 17: 1-10. doi: 10.1155/2017/1517683

Lorence A, Nessler CL (2004) Camptothecin, over four decades of surprising findings. Phytochemistry 65(20): 2735-2749. doi: 10.1016/j.phytochem.2004.09.001.

Wong FC, Yong AL, Ting EP, Khoo SC, Ong HC, Chai TT (2014) Antioxidant, Metal Chelating, Anti-glucosidase Activities and Phytochemical Analysis of Selected Tropical Medicinal Plants. Iran J Pharm Res 13(4): 1409-1415. doi: 10.22037/IJPR.2014.1588.

Wadikar D, Patki P (2016) Coleus aromaticus: a therapeutic herb with multiple potentials. Journal of Food Science and Technology 53: 1-5. doi: 10.1007/s13197-016-2292-y.

El-hawary SS, El-sofany RH, Abdel-Monem AR, Ashour RS, Sleem AA (2012) Polyphenolics content and biological activity of Plectranthus amboinicus (Lour.) spreng growing in Egypt (Lamiaceae). Pharmacognosy Journal 4(32): 45-54. doi: 10.5530/pj.2012.32.9.

Chiu YJ, Huang TH, Chiu CS, Tsung CL, Chen YW, Peng WH, Chen CY (2012) Analgesic and Antiinflammatory Activities of the Aqueous Extract from Plectranthus amboinicus (Lour.) Spreng. Both In Vitro and In Vivo. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM 12: 50813-7. doi: 10.1155/2012/508137.

Patel R, Mahobia NK, Gendle R, Kaushik B, Singh SK (2010) Diuretic activity of leaves of Plectranthus amboinicus (Lour) Spreng in male albino rats. Pharmacognosy Res 2(2): 86-88. doi: 10.4103/0974-8490.62956.

Viswanathaswamy AHM, Koti BC, Gore A, Thippeswamy AHM, Kulkarni RV (2011) Antihyperglycemic and anti-hyperlipidemic activity of Plectranthus amboinicus on normal and alloxan-induced diabetic rats. Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sc 73(2): 139-145. doi: 10.4103/0250-474x.91572.

Sharma N, Acharya S, Kumar K, Singh N, Chaurasia O (2019) Hydroponics as an advanced technique for vegetable production: An overview. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 17: 364-371. doi:10.5958/2455-7145.2018.00056.5.

Schnitzler W (2004) Pest and disease management of soilless culture. Acta Horticulturae 648: 191-203. doi:10.17660/ActaHortic.2004.648.23.

Ben-Hamadou R (2019) Hydroponics: Innovative Option for Growing Crops in Extreme Environments-The Case of the Arabian Peninsula (A Review). Open Access Journal of Agricultural Research 4: 1-4. doi:10.23880/OAJAR-16000235.

Treftz C, Omaye ST (2016) Hydroponics: potential for augmenting sustainable food production in non-arable regions. Nutrition and Food Science 46(5): 672-684. doi: 10.1108/NFS-10-2015-0118.

Sankhalkar S, Komarpant R, Dessai TR, Simoes J, Sharma S (2019) Effects of Soil and Soil-Less Culture on Morphology, Physiology and Biochemical Studies of Vegetable Plants. Curr Agri Res 7(2): 181-188. doi: 10.12944/CARJ.7.2.06.

Jeon SH, Yoon YE, Lee YB, Kuppusamy S, Kim HT (2019) Are There as Many Essential and Non-essential Minerals in Hydroponic Strawberry (Fragaria ananassa L.) Compared to Those Grown in Soil? Biological Trace Element Research 187(2): 562-567. doi: 10.1007/s12011-018-1394-y.

Manzocco L, Foschia M, Maifreni M, Marino M, Tomasi N, Dalla Costa L, Cortella G, Cesco S (2011) Influence of hydroponic and soil cultivation on quality and shelf life of ready-to-eat lamb's lettuce (Valerianella locusta L. Laterr). Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 91(8): 1373-1380. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.4313.

Wong FC, Chai TT, Hoo YW (2012) Antioxidation and cytotoxic activities of selected medicinal herbs used in Malaysia. Journal of Medicinal Plants Research 6(16): 3169-3175. doi: 10.5897/JMPR11.1631.

Malar S, Sahi SV, Favas PJ, Venkatachalam P (2015) Mercury heavy-metal-induced physiochemical changes and genotoxic alterations in water hyacinths [Eichhornia crassipes (Mart.)]. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 22(6): 4597-4608. doi: 10.1007/s11356-014-3576-2.

Beauchamp C, Fridovich I (1971) Superoxide dismutase: Improved assays and an assay applicable to acrylamide gels. Analytical Biochemistry 44(1): 276-287. doi: 10.1016/0003-2697(71)90370-8.

Dhindsa RS, Plumb-Dhindsa P, Thorpe TA (1981) Leaf Senescence: Correlated with Increased Levels of Membrane Permeability and Lipid Peroxidation, and Decreased Levels of Superoxide Dismutase and Catalase. Journal of Experimental Botany 32(126): 93-101. doi: 10.1093/jxb/32.1.93.

Opie EL (1962) On the relation of necrosis and inflammation to denaturation of proteins. The Journal of experimental medicine 115(3): 597-608. doi: 10.1084/jem.115.3.597.

Mohana Dass S, Chai TT, Wong FC (2019) Antioxidant and Protein Protection Potentials of Fennel Seed-derived Protein Hydrolysates and Peptides. Modern Food Sc & Tech 35(9): 22-29. doi: 10.13982/j.mfst.1673-9078.2019.9.002.

Chai TT, Xiao J, Mohana Dass S, Teoh JY, Ee KY, Ng WJ, Wong FC (2021) Identification of antioxidant peptides derived from tropical jackfruit seed and investigation of the stability profiles. Food Chemistry 340: 127876. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2020.127876.

Lichtenthaler HK (2001) Chlorophylls and Carotenoids: Measurement and Characterization by UV-VIS Spectroscopy. Current Protocols in Food Analytical Chemistry 4(3): 1-8. doi: 10.1002/0471142913.faf0403s01.

Dinesh B, Yadav B, Reddy RD, Padma AS, Sukumaran M (2015) Determination of Ascorbic Acid Content in Some Indian Spices. Int. .J. Curr. Microbiol. App. Sci. 4(8): 864-868.

Uddin AB, Khalid RS, Alaama M, Abdualkader AM, Kasmuri A, Abbas SA (2016) Comparative study of three digestion methods for elemental analysis in traditional medicine products using atomic absorption spectrometry. Journal of Analytical Science and Technology 7(1): 6. doi: 10.1186/s40543-016-0085-6.

Verma S, Dubey RS (2003) Lead toxicity induces lipid peroxidation and alters the activities of antioxidant enzymes in growing rice plants. Plant Science 164(4): 645-655. doi: 10.1016/S0168-9452(03)00022-0.

Güneş A, Kordali Ş, Turan M, Usanmaz Bozhüyük A (2019) Determination of antioxidant enzyme activity and phenolic contents of some species of the Asteraceae family from medicanal plants. Industrial Crops & Products 137: 208-213. doi: 10.1016/j.indcrop.2019.05.042.

Lombardi L, Sebastiani L (2005) Copper toxicity in Prunuscerasifera: growth and antioxidant enzymes responses of in vitro grown plants. Plant Sc. 168(3): 797-802. doi: 10.1016/j.plantsci.2004.10.012.

Chai TT, Khoo CS, Tee CS, Wong FC (2016) Alpha-glucosidase Inhibitory and Antioxidant Potential of Antidiabetic Herb Alternanthera sessilis: Comparative Analyses of Leaf and Callus Solvent Fractions. Pharmacognosy Magazine 12(48): 253-258. doi: 10.4103/0973-1296.192202.

Wong FC, Chai TT, Xiao J (2019) The influences of thermal processing on phytochemicals and possible routes to the discovery of new phytochemical conjugates. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition 59(6): 947-952. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2018.1479681.

Wang J, Hu S, Nie S, Yu Q, Xie M (2016) Reviews on Mechanisms of In Vitro Antioxidant Activity of Polysaccharides. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity 16: 5692852. doi: 10.1155/2016/5692852.

Han RM, Zhang JP, Skibsted LH (2012) Reaction dynamics of flavonoids and carotenoids as antioxidants. Molecules 17(2): 2140-2160. doi: 10.3390/molecules17022140.

Hamlaoui I, Bencheraiet R, Bensegueni R, Bencharif M (2018) Experimental and theoretical study on DPPH radical scavenging mechanism of some chalcone quinoline derivatives. Journal of Molecular Structure 1156: 385-389. doi: 10.1016/j.molstruc.2017.11.118.

Helena A, Blaž G, Nataša Poklar U, Blaž C (2018) Relevance and Standardization of In Vitro Antioxidant Assays: ABTS, DPPH, and Folin–Ciocalteu. Journal of Chemistry 2018. doi: 10.1155/2018/4608405.

Shahidi F, Zhong Y (2015) Measurement of antioxidant activity. Journal of Functional Foods 18: 757-781. doi: 10.1016/j.jff.2015.01.047.

Cao H, Chai TT, Wang X, Morais-Braga MFB, Yang JH, Wong FC, Wang R, Yao H, Cao J, Cornara L, Burlando B, Wang Y, Xiao J, Coutinho HDM (2017) Phytochemicals from fern species: potential for medicine applications. Phytochemistry Reviews 16(3): 379-440. doi: 10.1007/s11101-016-9488-7.

Chai TT, Panirchellvum E, Ong HC, Wong FC (2012) Phenolic contents and antioxidant properties of Stenochlaena palustris, an edible medicinal fern. Botanical Studies 53(4): 439-446.

Chai TT, Ooh KF, Quah Y, Wong FC (2015) Edible freshwater macrophytes: a source of anticancer and antioxidative natural products-a mini-review. Phytochemistry Reviews 14(3): 443-457. doi: 10.1007/s11101-015-9399-z.

Chai TT, Xiao JB, Mohana Dass S., Wong FC (2020) Laccase-catalyzed, Phytochemical-mediated Protein Cross-linking Conjugates. eFood 1(2): 119-125. doi: 10.2991/efood.k.200218.001.

Sies H, Stahl W, Sundquist AR (1992) Antioxidant functions of vitamins. Vitamins E and C, beta-carotene, and other carotenoids. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 669: 7-20. . doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.1992.tb17085.x.

Li L, Yi H (2012) Effect of sulfur dioxide on ROS production, gene expression and antioxidant enzyme activity in Arabidopsis plants. Plant Physiology and Biochem 58: 46-53. doi: 10.1016/j.plaphy.2012.06.009.

Kapoor D, Singh S, Kumar V, Romero R, Prasad R, Singh J (2019) Antioxidant enzymes regulation in plants in reference to reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS). Plant Gene 19: 100182. doi: 10.1016/j.plgene.2019.100182.

Kabiri R, Farahbakhsh H, Nasibi F (2012) Salicylic Acid Ameliorates the Effects of Oxidative Stress Induced by Water Deficit in Hydroponic Culture of Nigella sativa. Journal of Stress Physiology & Biochem 8(3): 13-22.

Li ZW, Yang Y, Cui XM, Liao PR, Ge J, Wang CX, Yang XY, Liu DH (2015) Physiological response and bioaccumulation of Panax notoginseng to cadmium under hydroponic. China journal of Chinese materia medica 40(15): 2903-2908. doi: 10.4268/cjcmm20151501.

Shekari L, Kamelmanesh MM, Mozafariyan M, Hasanuzzaman M, Sadeghi F (2017) Role of selenium in mitigation of cadmium toxicity in pepper grown in hydroponic condition. Journal of Plant Nutrition 40(6): 761-772. doi: 10.1080/01904167.2016.1161773.

Armas T, Pinto A, Varennes A, Mourato M, Martins L, Gonçalves M, Mota A (2015) Comparison of cadmium-induced oxidative stress in Brassica juncea in soil and hydroponic cultures. Plant & Soil 388(1/2): 297-305. doi: 10.1007/s11104-014-2330-3.

Muhammad SA, Bilbis LS, Saidu Y, Adamu Y (2012) Effect of Antioxidant Mineral Elements Supplementation in the Treatment of Hypertension in Albino Rats. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity 2012: 134723. doi: 10.1155/2012/134723.

Mourato MP, Martins LL, Cuypers A (2009) Effect of Copper on Antioxidant Enzyme Activities and Mineral Nutrition of White Lupin Plants Grown in Nutrient Solution. Journal of Plant Nutrition 32(11): 1882-1900. doi: 10.1080/01904160903242375.