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The estrogen-like activity and identification of certain isoflavones present in red clover Hogg, Robert William


A study was carried out to determine the relative estrogen-like activity attributed to the isoflavone compounds present in red clover plants (Trifolium pratense). The pure compounds were fed as additives to a non-estrogenic basal diet at total dosages ranging from zero to fifteen milligrams per mouse. The biological assay used for the determination of the estrogen-like activity was a slight modification of that outlined by Kitts et al. in 1959 (63). The isoflavone found to possess the greatest estrogen-like activity was Genisteim followed by Daidzein, Biochanin A and Formononetin. A non-isoflavone compound, Coumestrol, was found to possess a greater estrogen-like activity than any of the isoflavones considered. Mixtures of the pure isoflavones were bio assayed to observe any inhibitory or synergistic characteristics of one upon another. Biochanin A appeared to exert a slight inhibitory action and formononetin a synergistic character. An electrophoretic technique was developed which facilitated the detection of the isoflavones in plant extracts of monthly harvested red clover. An attempt was made to associate the biological activity of the red clover samples and the compounds which were observed in these same samples using electrophoresis

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