How can the bioactive physalis compound help in cancer treatment?

By Maria Luiza De Grandi, journalist of Ciência Rural journal, and Suelen Santos da Silva, Master in Food Science and Technology, Universidade Federal de Santa Maria, Santa Maria, RS, Brazil

Physalis peruviana, or Goldenberry, contains bioactive compounds with antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antitumor and immunosuppressive properties (CODEVILLA, et al., 2018). To test the toxicity of the extract and its association with nanoemulsion, researchers from the Universidade Federal de Santa Maria (UFSM) conducted a research with in vivo and in vitro assays using Goldenberry and Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans). The article “Physicochemical characterization and in vitro and in vivo toxicity assessment of nanoemulsion containing goldenberry extract” was published in Ciência Rural journal (vol. 49, no. 8).

There are some risks associated with oral intake of nanoemulsions, such as their ability to alter the biological fate of bioactive components in the gastrointestinal tract and the potential toxicity of some of the components used in the formulation process. According to researcher Suelen Santos da Silva, toxicity is a very important factor for nanoformulations aimed at future application. Due to the particle size, there is research to verify the toxicity of nanoformulations, especially when associated with natural compounds. In the case of the association of nanoemulsion with Physalis peruviana extract, this work was pioneering.

Source: Suelen Santos da Silva

Figure 1. Physalis Peruviana

“The research also presents an advance in in vivo testing, instead of using guinea pigs (mice), we used a nematode called Caenorhabditis elegans.”, Adds Suelen Santos da Silva. Among the advantages of the nematode is the transparency of the worm, which facilitates the visualization of the digestive system, short life cycle (about 3 days at 20 °C) and in addition, the worms have many basic physiological processes that are conserved in relation to allowing the matching and comparison of molecular mechanisms (GONZALEZ-MORAGA; ROIG; LAROMAINE, 2015).

The developed formulation showed toxicity in mammary tumor cells. According to Suelen, in the case of future application, they can be used as food additives, as the formulation associated with Physalis extract protects bioactive compounds from degradation and also due to their low toxicity in healthy cells. The research is also a starting point for more cancer treatment research involving natural compounds.


CODEVILLA, C.F., et al. Nanoestruturas contendo compostos bioativo extraídos de plantas. Ciência e Natura [online]. 2015, vol. 37, pp. 142-151, e-ISSN: 2179-460X [viewed 9 October 2019]. DOI:10.5902/2179460X19743. Available from:

GONZALEZ-MORAGAS, L., ROIG, A. and LAROMAINE, A. C. elegans as a tool for in vivo nanoparticle assessment. Advances in Colloid and Interface Science [online]. 2015, vol. 219, pp. 10-26, ISSN: 0001-8686 [viewed 9 October 2019]. DOI: 10.1016/j.cis.2015.02.001. Avaliable from:

To read the article, access it

SILVA, S.S., et al. Physicochemical characterization and evaluation of in vitro and in vivo toxicity of goldenberry extract nanoemulsion. Cienc. Rural [online]. 2019, vol. 49, no. 8, e20190015, ISSN: 0103-8478 [viewed 9 October 2019]. DOI: 10.1590/0103-8478cr20190015. Avaliable from:

External links

Ciência Rural – CR: <>


Como citar este post [ISO 690/2010]:

DE GRANDI, M.L. and SILVA, S.S. How can the bioactive physalis compound help in cancer treatment? [online]. SciELO in Perspective | Press Releases, 2019 [viewed ]. Available from:


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