Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Food Science and Technology, Federal University Wukari, Taraba State, Nigeria

2 Computational Astrochemistry and Bio-Simulation Research Group, Federal University Wukari, Taraba State, Nigeria

3 Department of Chemical Sciences, Federal University Wukari, Taraba State, Nigeria


In recent years, the exploration of natural compounds from plants has gained traction as researchers seek alternatives to conventional cancer therapies. Luteolin and Naringenin, identified in Tigernuts, have been of particular interest due to their established anti-cancer potential within the broader class of flavonoids. Against the backdrop of rising global cancer prevalence, this study explores the potential of plant-derived compounds as alternatives or complementary therapies. This study investigates the anti-cancer properties of Luteolin and Naringenin, prominent flavonoids found in Tigernuts (Cyperus esculentus L.). A computational modeling method known as molecular docking was employed to predict the preferred orientations of Luteolin and Naringenin when forming stable complexes with cancer-related molecular targets. In addition, density functional theory (DFT) was utilized to calculate the electronic structure of these compounds, providing insights into their stability and reactivity. As conventional chemotherapeutic approaches face limitations, this contributes to the ongoing quest for efficient and side effect-minimized cancer treatments. The results of this study showed that naringerin and luteolin found in tigernut has great potential to be used in the fight against cancer, showcasing the potential of natural compounds from Tigernuts in contemporary cancer research and drug development.

Graphical Abstract

Quantum chemical and molecular docking studies of luteolin and naringerin found in tigernut: A study of their anti-cancer properties


Main Subjects


©2024 The author(s). This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit:


Sami Publishing Company remains neutral concerning jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.


Sami Publishing Company

[1]. Babiker E.E., Özcan M.M., Ghafoor K., Al Juhaimi F., Ahmed I.A.M., Almusallam I.A. Bioactive compounds, nutritional and sensory properties of cookies prepared with wheat and tigernut flour, Food Chemistry, 2021, 349:129155 [Crossref], [Google Scholar], [Publisher]
[2]. Pelegrín C.J., Ramos M., Jiménez A., Garrigós M.C. Chemical composition and bioactive antioxidants obtained by microwave-assisted extraction of Cyperus esculentus L. by-products: a valorization approach, Frontiers in Nutrition, 2022, 9:944830 [Crossref], [Google Scholar], [Publisher]
[3]. Tavera-Hernández R., Jiménez-Estrada M., Alvarado-Sansininea J.J., Nieto-Camacho A., López-Muñoz H., Sánchez-Sánchez L., Escobar M.L. Synthesis of chrysin, quercetin and naringin nitroderivatives: antiproliferative, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity, Letters in Drug Design & Discovery, 2021, 18:795 [Crossref], [Google Scholar], [Publisher]
[4]. Allen L.N. Commercial determinants of global health, Handbook of global health, 2021, 1275 [Crossref], [Google Scholar], [Publisher]
[5]. Xu H., Jia Y., Sun Z., Su J., Liu Q.S., Zhou Q., Jiang G. Environmental pollution, a hidden culprit for health issues, Eco-Environment & Health, 2022, 1:31 [Crossref], [Google Scholar], [Publisher]
[6]. Fiore M., Oliveri Conti G., Caltabiano R., Buffone A., Zuccarello P., Cormaci L., Cannizzaro M.A., Ferrante M. Role of emerging environmental risk factors in thyroid cancer: a brief review, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2019, 16:1185 [Crossref], [Google Scholar], [Publisher]
[7]. Kashyap P., Kumar S., Riar C.S., Jindal N., Baniwal P., Guiné R.P., Correia P.M., Mehra R., Kumar H. Recent advances in Drumstick (Moringa oleifera) leaves bioactive compounds: Composition, health benefits, bioaccessibility, and dietary applications, Antioxidants, 2022, 11:402 [Crossref], [Google Scholar], [Publisher]
[8]. Mottaghipisheh J., Iriti M. Sephadex® LH-20, Isolation, and purification of flavonoids from plant species: A comprehensive review, Molecules, 2020, 25:4146 [Crossref], [Google Scholar], [Publisher]
[9]. Valero-Vello M., Peris-Martínez C., García-Medina J.J., Sanz-González S.M., Ramírez A.I., Fernández-Albarral J.A., Galarreta-Mira D., Zanón-Moreno V., Casaroli-Marano R.P., Pinazo-Duran M.D. Searching for the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective potential of natural food and nutritional supplements for ocular health in the mediterranean population, Foods, 2021, 10:1231 [Crossref], [Google Scholar], [Publisher]
[10]. Oyedara O.O., Rufai A.B., Okunlola G.O., Adeyemi F.M. Nutritional and endophytic composition of edible tubers of tiger nut (Cyperus esculentus L.), Jordan Journal of Biological Sciences, 2022, 15:603 [Crossref], [Google Scholar]
[11]. Ushie O., Kendeson A., Longbab B., Ogofotha P., Nongu S., Bako B. Profiling phytochemicals and antimicrobial activities of hexane and acetone crude extracts of sterculia setigera LEAF, Journal of Chemical Society of Nigeria, 2022, 47 [Crossref], [Google Scholar], [Publisher]
[12]. Tsado M.J., Ndamitso M.M., Shaba E.Y., Mustapha S., Muhammed S.S., Adamu A.(IOSR Journal Of Environmental Science, Toxicology And Food Technology, 2013) [Google Scholar], [Publisher]
[13]. Bako B., Ushie O., Malu S. Lupeol and lauric acid isolated from ethyl acetate stem extract of justicia secunda and their antimicrobial activity, Journal of Chemical Society of Nigeria, 2023, 48:[Crossref], [Google Scholar], [Publisher]
[14]. Shukla D., Rawal R., Jain N. A brief review on plant-derived natural compounds as an anti-cancer agents, International Journal of Herbal Medicine, 2018, 6:28 [Google Scholar], [Publisher]
[15]. Dhanaraj S. A critical review on quercetin bioflavonoid and its derivatives: Scope, synthesis, and biological applications with future prospects, Arabian Journal of Chemistry, 2023, 16:104881 [Crossref], [Google Scholar], [Publisher]
[16]. Ali M.Y., Sina A.A.I., Khandker S.S., Neesa L., Tanvir E., Kabir A., Khalil M.I., Gan S.H. Nutritional composition and bioactive compounds in tomatoes and their impact on human health and disease: A review, Foods, 2020, 10:45 [Crossref], [Google Scholar], [Publisher]
[17]. Bako B. Applications of Justicia secunda extracts in functional foods and natural products: A Review, Advanced Journal of Chemistry Section B, 2024, 6:1 [Crossref], [Google Scholar], [Publisher]
[18]. Prieto-Martínez F.D., López-López E., Juárez-Mercado K.E., medina-franco J.L. computational drug design methods—current and future perspectives, In Silico Drug Design, 2019, 19 [Crossref], [Google Scholar], [Publisher]
[19]. Basith S., Cui M., Macalino S.J., Choi S. Expediting the design, discovery and development of anticancer drugs using computational approaches, Current Medicinal Chemistry, 2017, 24:4753 [Crossref], [Google Scholar], [Publisher]
[20]. Saikia S., Bordoloi M. Molecular docking: challenges, advances and its use in drug discovery perspective, Current Drug Targets, 2019, 20:501 [Crossref], [Google Scholar], [Publisher]
[21]. Arjmand B., Hamidpour S.K., Alavi-Moghadam S., Yavari H., Shahbazbadr A., Tavirani M.R., Gilany K., Larijani B. Molecular docking as a therapeutic approach for targeting cancer stem cell metabolic processes, Frontiers in Pharmacology, 2022, 13:768556 [Crossref], [Google Scholar], [Publisher]
[22]. Muhseen Z.T., Li G. Promising terpenes as natural antagonists of cancer: an in-silico approach, Molecules, 2019, 25:155 [Crossref], [Google Scholar], [Publisher]
[23]. Gohain B.B., Gogoi U., Das A., Rajkhowa S. Enhancing cancer drug development with xanthone derivatives: A QSAR approach and comparative molecular docking investigations, South African Journal of Botany, 2023, 163:294 [Crossref], [Google Scholar], [Publisher]
[24]. Ugbe F.A., Shallangwa G.A., Uzairu A., Abdulkadir I. A 2-D QSAR modeling, molecular docking study and design of 2-Arylbenzimidazole derivatives as novel leishmanial inhibitors: a molecular dynamics study, Advance Journal of Chemistry Section A, 2023, 6:50 [Crossref], [Google Scholar], [Publisher]
[25]. Gavas S., Quazi S., Karpiński T.M. Nanoparticles for cancer therapy: current progress and challenges, Nanoscale Research Letters, 2021, 16:173 [Crossref], [Google Scholar], [Publisher]
[26]. Chelliah S.S., Paul E.A.L., Kamarudin M.N.A., Parhar I. Challenges and perspectives of standard therapy and drug development in high-grade gliomas, Molecules, 2021, 26:1169 [Crossref], [Google Scholar], [Publisher]
[27]. Khan J., Sakib S.A., Mahmud S., Khan Z., Islam M.N., Sakib M.A., Emran T.B., Simal-Gandara J. Identification of potential phytochemicals from Citrus limon against main protease of SARS-CoV-2: Molecular docking, molecular dynamic simulations and quantum computations, Journal of Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics, 2022, 40:10741 [Crossref], [Google Scholar], [Publisher]
[28]. Shinggu J.P., Etim E.E., Onen A.I. Quantum chemical studies on C2H2O isomeric species: Astrophysical implications, and comparison of methods, Communication in Physical Sciences, 2023, 9 [Google Scholar], [Publisher]
[29]. Frisch, M. J., Trucks, G. W., Schlegel, H. B., Scuseria, G. E., Robb, M. A., Cheeseman, J. R., ... & Fox, D. J. (2009). Gaussian 09, Revision D. 01, Gaussian, Inc., Wallingford CT. See also: URL: http://www. gaussian. com.
[30]. Sarikaya E.K., Dereli Ö., Bahceli S. A Comparative study of DFT/B3LYP/6-31G (d, p), RM062X/6-31G (d, p), B3LYP/6-311++ G (d, p) and HSEH1PBE/6-31G (d, p) methods applied to molecular geometry and electronic properties of Cs-C60Cl6 molecule, Adıyaman University Journal of Science, 2021, 11:456 [Crossref], [Google Scholar], [Publisher]
[31]. Shinggu J.P., Etim E.E., Onen A.I. Protonation-induced structural and spectroscopic variations in molecular species: A Computational Study on N2, H2, CO, CS, and PH3, Communication in Physical Sciences, 2023, 9 [Google Scholar], [Publisher]
[32]. Surmiak E., Twarda-Clapa A., Zak K.M., Musielak B., Tomala M.D., Kubica K., Grudnik P., Madej M., Jablonski M., Potempa J. A unique Mdm2-binding mode of the 3-pyrrolin-2-one-and 2-furanone-based antagonists of the p53-Mdm2 interaction, ACS Chemical Biology, 2016, 11:3310 [Crossref], [Google Scholar], [Publisher]
[33]. Trott O., Olson A.J. AutoDock Vina: improving the speed and accuracy of docking with a new scoring function, efficient optimization, and multithreading, Journal of Computational Chemistry, 2010, 31:455 [Crossref], [Google Scholar], [Publisher]
[34]. Rose P.W., Beran B., Bi C., Bluhm W.F., Dimitropoulos D., Goodsell D.S., Prlić A., Quesada M., Quinn G.B., Westbrook J.D. The RCSB Protein Data Bank: redesigned web site and web services, Nucleic Acids Research, 2010, 39:D392 [Crossref], [Google Scholar], [Publisher]
[35]. Norinder U., Bergström C.A. Prediction of ADMET properties, ChemMedChem: Chemistry Enabling Drug Discovery, 2006, 1:920 [Crossref], [Google Scholar], [Publisher]
[36]. Shinggu J.P. , Etim E.E., Onen A.I. Isotopic effects on the structure and spectroscopy of thioformaldehyde, dihydrogen and water, Advanced Journal of Chemistry, Section A, 2023, 6:366 [Crossref], [Publisher]
[37]. Pires D.E., Blundell T.L., Ascher D.B. pkCSM: predicting small-molecule pharmacokinetic and toxicity properties using graph-based signatures, Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 2015, 58:4066 [Crossref], [Google Scholar], [Publisher]
[38]. Surmiak E., Twarda-Clapa A., Zak K.M., Musielak B., Tomala M.D., Kubica K., Grudnik P., Madej M., Jablonski M., Potempa J. A unique Mdm2-binding mode of the 3-pyrrolin-2-one-and 2-furanone-based antagonists of the p53-Mdm2 interaction, ACS Chemical Biology, 2016, 11:3310 [Crossref], [Google Scholar], [Publisher]
[39]. Ghiasi R., Rahimi M. Complex formation of titanocene dichloride anticancer and Al 12N 12 nano-cluster: A quantum chemical investigation of solvent, temperature and pressure effects, Main Group Chemistry, 2021, 20:19 [Crossref], [Google Scholar], [Publisher]
[40].  Ghiasi R., Valizadeh A. Computational investigation of interaction of a cycloplatinated thiosemicarbazone as antitumor and antiparasitic agents with B12N12 nano-cage, Results in Chemistry, 2023, 5:100768 [Crossref], [Google Scholar], [Publisher]
[41]. Strati G.L., Willett J.L., Momany F.A. Ab initio computational study of β-cellobiose conformers using B3LYP/6-311++ G, Carbohydrate Research, 2002, 337:1833 [Crossref], [Google Scholar], [Publisher]
[42]. Srivastava R., Al-Omary F.A., El-Emam A.A., Pathak S.K., Karabacak M., Narayan V., Chand S., Prasad O., Sinha L. A combined experimental and theoretical DFT (B3LYP, CAM-B3LYP and M06-2X) study on electronic structure, hydrogen bonding, solvent effects and spectral features of methyl 1H-indol-5-carboxylate, Journal of Molecular Structure, 2017, 1137:725 [Crossref], [Google Scholar], [Publisher]
[43]. Samuel H., Nweke-Mariazu U., Etim E. Experimental and theoretical approaches for characterizing halogen bonding, Journal of Appllied Organometallic Chemistry, 2023, 3:169 [Crossref], [Publisher]
[44]. Baiz C.R., Błasiak B., Bredenbeck J., Cho M., Choi J.H., Corcelli S.A., Dijkstra A.G., Feng C.J., Garrett-Roe S., Ge N.H. Vibrational spectroscopic map, vibrational spectroscopy, and intermolecular interaction, Chemical Reviews, 2020, 120:7152 [Crossref], [Google Scholar], [Publisher]
[45]. Samuel H.S., Ekpan FM. Revolutionizing drugs administration: Techniques in drug delivery and development, International Journal of Biochemistry Physiology, 2023, 8:000237 [Crossref], [Publisher]
[46]. Milusheva M., Gledacheva V., Stefanova I., Feizi-Dehnayebi M., Mihaylova R., Nedialkov P., Cherneva E., Tumbarski Y., Tsoneva S., Todorova M. Synthesis, molecular docking, and biological evaluation of novel anthranilic acid hybrid and its diamides as antispasmodics, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 2023, 24:13855 [Crossref], [Google Scholar], [Publisher]