Hajah Siti Nur Dalina, from Faculty of Science, UBD, completed her Masters in Chemistry by Research on 2021. Her research project focuses on the antioxidant capacities, chemical compositions and bioactivities of Piper betle Linn. (sirih), Piper sarmentosum (Sirih Kaduk) and Piper crocatum (Sirih Merah) under the supervision of Dr. Hartini Haji Mohd Yasin, AP Dr. Anwar Usman and Dr. Fairuzeta Hj Md. Ja’afar. Prof. Arai Masayoshi and Dr. Atsushi Kimishima from Laboratory of Natural Products for Drug Discovery, Osaka University were among other researchers involved in this project.
“My MSc project was an extension of my FYP research. Since the results during my FYP were promising, I continued my research on different types of betel leaves (Sirih). Some studies have claimed that these leaves possessed beneficial properties too. These claims further spiked my curiosity on how much of it are true.”
Her project aimed to compare the three different species of the betel leaves; P. betle Linn, P. sarmentosum and P. crocatum for their antioxidant capacities, chemical compositions and bioactivity screenings. Her project findings showed that both aqueous and methanol extracts of the three betel species contained antioxidant compounds such as phenolic, flavonoids, eugenol and chavicol. Low carbohydrate, protein content and overall mineral compositions of the leaf extracts suggested that the betel leaves do not provide sufficient nutrients to form the basis of a staple diet but can be beneficial when taken as supplements. All leaf extracts of the betel species demonstrated anti-cholesterol, anti-diabetic, and antibacterial properties against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. In the anticancer screening, ethanol extracts of P. betle Linn and P. crocatum showed clear selectivity against PANC-1 cell lines. Among the three species analysed, methanolic extract of P. betle Linn was revealed to consist of high phenolic compound and indicated various bioactivities, including antioxidant capabilities against ferric ions and DPPH radicals, anti-cholesterol and anticancer properties indicating its potential in the pharmaceutical, food and cosmetic industries.
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