Kudzu Roots and Soy Molasses may help treat t

image: Saied Abushanab notes that isoflavones inhibit tumor metastasis without affecting healthy cells.
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Credit: Ilya Safarov/UrFU

Soy molasses and kudzu roots contain isoflavonoids with high antioxidant and cytotoxic activity, scientists have found. Substances can help fight cancer, especially when chemotherapy or surgery to remove metastases can be dangerous. A description of the research has been published in the journal Plants.

The isoflavonoids in soy molasses and kudzu roots are phytoestrogens that mimic the action of the human hormone estrogen. They help bind and remove free radicals from the body, which cause cell damage and interfere with immune system functions. This, in turn, leads to various diseases, including the formation of cancerous tumors.

Isoflavones found in plants are effective against dense tumor structures affecting human internal organs. For example, soy extract is most effective against metastases and malignant tumor cells developing in muscle (rhabdomyosarcoma), while isoflavones from kudzu roots showed good anticarcinogenic effect against brain cancer (glioblastoma multiforme) and bone and connective tissue cancer (osteosarcoma). In vitro studies were performed on cell lines of these diseases.

“The cancers studied have a high rate of metastasis and are resistant to therapeutic regimens. They are especially dangerous for children: about 40% of cancers in children come from these cancers. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy only help in 50% of the cases, in the other 50% the cancer cells continue to metastasize, and in the child’s body the cells grow faster than in adults. In addition, radiation therapy is highly toxic, especially to children. Thus, there is a need to develop innovative strategies that could potentially inhibit tumor cell growth without side effects, so plant extracts are an alternative to traditional drug therapy,” said Saied Abushanab, a research engineer at the Laboratory of Organic Synthesis at UrFU.

Scientists have determined that the most active isoflavones in both plant extracts are daidzein and genistein, which protect bone tissue. Puerarin, formononetin and biochanin A were also found. Scientists used “green solvents,” called natural deep eutectic solvents, to extract isoflavones. The study used solutions of choline chloride and citric acid. They are organic compounds that are not toxic to the body.

“This technology has been shown to be more effective for the extraction of isoflavonoids than the synthetic method of obtaining them. It should be noted that choline chloride and citric acid also have their own therapeutic properties and thus can enhance the effect of isoflavones on cancer cells,” explains Saied Abushanab.

Phytoestrogens extracted from both plant preparations were identified by high-performance liquid chromatography with mass spectrometric detection, and their quantification was performed using an ultraviolet detector. The scientists note that the combination of these methods makes it possible to perform both qualitative determination of the compounds in the extract and the amount of these substances in the examined sample.


Kudzu root or pueraria is an ivy-like liana-like plant of the legume family. It is native to Asia and grows from the tropical regions of Indochina to the temperate foothills of the Sikhote-Alin. Fresh root crops of the plant can be used in the form of medicinal drinks.

Soy molasses is a waste product of the industrial production of soy protein concentrate as a source of sugar, fiber and protein. At present, soy molasses is used as an ingredient in compound feed, as a pelletizing machine for soybean meal and as a substrate for biotechnical production.

Article title

Antioxidant and Cytotoxic Activities of Kudzu Roots and Soy Molasses Against Pediatric Tumors and Phytochemical Analysis of Isoflavones Using HPLC-DAD-ESI-HRMS

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