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Aloe vera Gel

Edible coating gels developed from the Aloe vera plant have been used as a traditional medicine for about 3000 years. Aloe vera contains approximately 110 potentially active constituents from six different classes: chromone and its glycoside derivatives; anthraquinone and its glycoside derivatives; flavonoids; phenylpropanoids and coumarins; phenylpyrone and phenol derivatives; and phytosterols and others. Apart from medicinal uses, Aloe gels have an important role in food preservation as edible coatings. They provide an edible barrier for atmospheric gases and moisture and help to reduce the respiration and transpiration of fresh produce, which helps to preserve its postharvest quality.

  • Aloe vera
  • chemical constituents
  • antimicrobial activity
  • postharvest storage
  • biodegradable
  • edible coating

1. Introduction

Food quality mainly refers to three attributes: external (size, color, appearance, etc.), internal (taste, color, juicy, texture, seedless, etc.), and hidden (food safety and nutritional contents). External and internal quality attributes were of greatest importance to consumers for many years. However, since the occurrence of food-derived health problems has begun to increase, consumers have started to pay more attention to the hidden quality attributes of fresh produce and are asking for food to be free of chemical residues [1]. Fungicides and other agrochemicals are of great importance in controlling postharvest diseases and have crucial role for the preservation of the postharvest quality, but misuse and/or excessive use of them might cause negative impacts on human health [2][3]. There is an increasing effort in postharvest studies to develop natural preservatives and antimicrobials to extend the storage duration of foods without chemical preservatives [4][5]. So far, many storage techniques and natural preservatives have been developed to extend the postharvest life of foods. The currently utilized natural preservatives are chitosan [6][7], essential oils [8][9], propolis extract [10], plant extracts [11][12], edible coatings [13][14], and organic salts [15]. Among these, edible coatings have been receiving more attention in recent years due to their potential for developing edible packaging materials [16]. Weight loss, changes in textural quality, changes in chemical structure, and microbial pathogens (mostly fungus) are the most important postharvest problems for foods [17][18].
Aloe belongs to the family of Xanthorrhoeaceae, which consists of about 420 species, and has been used as a traditional medicine for about 3000 years [19]. The perennial plant known as Aloe vera is Aloe barbadensis Miller, which is a well-known pharmaceutical herb that has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine for the treatment of various diseases. It is widely distributed in the semitropical regions and cultivated in many provinces of China.

2. Chemical Constituents of Aloe vera

The two-main class active constituent of the Aloe vera plant extract are chromone and anthraquinone and its glycoside derivatives, alongside others such as phenylpyrone derivatives, flavonoids, phenylpropanoids, coumarins, phytosterols, naphthalene analogs, lipids, and vitamins.

2.1. Chromone and its Glycoside Derivatives

Approximately 29 chromone derivatives were isolated and identified from Aloe vera (Table 1Figure 1). Aloesin (1, formerly called aloeresin B), aloeresin A (23), isoaloeresin D (13) and aloeresin E (9) are the most significant active constituents of Aloe vera. Three aloediols (7, 8, and 9) were isolated and identified from Aloe vera, but the absolute configuration has not yet been determined.
Figure 1. Chemical structure of chromone and its glycoside derivatives from Aloe vera.
Table 1. Chromone and its glycoside derivatives isolated and identified from Aloe vera.
No Constituents Molecular Formula Exact Mass References
1 aloesin C19H22O9 394.1264 [20][21]
2 neoaloesin A C19H22O9 394.1264 [22]
3 8-C-glucosyl-(R)-aloesol C19H24O9 396.142 [20]
4 8-C-glucosyl-7-methoxy-(R)-aloesol C20H26O9 410.1577 [20]
5 8-C-glucosyl-(S)-aloesol C19H24O9 396.142 [23]
6 8-C-glucosyl-7-methoxy-(S)-aloesol C20H26O9 410.1577 [23][24]
7 8-C-glucosyl-7-O-methylaloediol C20H26O10 426.1526 [20][23]
8 8-glucosyl-(2’-O-cinnamoyl)-7-O-methylaloediol A C29H32O12 572.1894 [25]
9 8-glucosyl-(2’-O-cinnamoyl)-7-O-methylaloediol B C29H32O12 572.1894 [25]
10 C-2′-decoumaroyl-aloeresin G C20H24O8 392.1471 [20]
11 aloeresin E C29H32O10 540.1995 [24]
12 isoaloeresin D C29H32O11 556.1945 [24][26][27]
13 iso-rabaichromone C29H32O12 572.1894 [23]
14 8-[C-β-D-[2-O-(E)-cinnamoyl] glucopyranosyl]-2-[(R)-2-hydroxypropyl]-7-methoxy-5-methylchromone C29H32O10 540.1995 [28]
15 aloeresin D C29H32O11 556.1945 [20][28]
16 rabaichromone C29H32O12 572.1894 [20]
17 allo-aloeresin D C29H32O11 556.1945 [20]
18 aloeresin K C31H34O12 598.205 [27]
19 aloeresin J C30H34O11 570.2101 [27]
20 8-C-glucosyl-noreugenin C16H18O9 354.0951 [25]
21 4’-O-glucosyl-isoaloeresin DI C35H42O16 718.2473 [25]
22 4’-O-glucosyl-isoaloeresin DII C35H42O16 718.2473 [25]
23 aloeresin A C28H28O11 540.1632 [21]
24 7-O-methyl-aloeresin A C29H30O11 554.1788 [21][29]
25 9-dihydroxyl-2’-O-(Z)-cinnamoyl-7-methoxy-aloesin C29H30O12 570.1737 [29]
26 6′-O-coumaroyl-aloesin C28H28O12 556.1581 [30]
27 7-methoxy-6′-O-coumaroyl-aloesin C29H30O12 570.1737 [31]
28 aloeveraside B C28H28O12 556.1581 [30][32]
29 aloeveraside A C29H30O12 570.1737 [30][32]

2.2. Anthraquinone and its Glycoside Derivatives

Approximately 32 anthraquinones and their glycoside derivatives were isolated and identified from Aloe vera (Table 2Figure 2). The isomers of aloin A (30) and aloin B (31), two anthraquinone glucosides, are the most abundant active constituents of Aloe vera. However, chrysophanol (52), emodin (53), physcione (54), aloe-emodin (55) are four major anthraquinone aglycones. Six anthraquinone dimmers (45–50) were also identified from Aloe vera.
Figure 2. Chemical structure of anthraquinone and its glycoside derivatives from Aloe vera.
Table 2. Anthraquinone and its glycoside derivatives isolated and identified from Aloe vera.
No Constituents Molecular Formula Exact Mass References
30 aloin A C21H22O9 418.1264 [27]
31 aloin B C21H22O9 418.1264 [27]
32 6′-O-acetyl-aloin A C23H24O10 460.1369 [27]
33 6′-O-acetyl-aloin B C23H24O10 460.1369 [27]
34 10-hydroxyaloins A C21H22O10 434.1213 [26][30]
35 10-hydroxyaloins B C21H22O10 434.1213 [26][30]
36 aloinoside A C27H32O13 564.1843 [27]
37 aloinoside B C27H32O13 564.1843 [27]
38 7-hydroxyaloin A C21H22O10 434.1213 [21]
39 7-hydroxyaloin B C21H22O10 434.1213 [21]
40 7-hydroxy-8-O-methylaloin A C22H24O10 448.1369 [21][26]
41 7-hydroxy-8-O-methylaloin B C22H24O10 448.1369 [21][26]
42 6′-malonylnataloin A C24H24O12 504.1268 [21]
43 6′-malonylnataloin B C24H24O12 504.1268 [21]
44 homonataloside B C28H34O14 594.1949 [21]
45 elgonica dimer A C36H30O14 686.1636 [27][33][34]
46 elgonica dimer B C36H30O14 686.1636 [27][33][34]
47 aloindimer A C42H42O18 834.2371 [27]
48 aloindimer B C42H42O18 834.2371 [27]
49 aloindimer C C42H42O18 834.2371 [27]
50 aloindimer D C42H42O18 834.2371 [27]
51 aloe-emodin-11-O-rhamnoside C21H20O9 416.1107 [30]
52 chrysophanol C15H10O4 254.0579 [35]
53 emodin C15H10O5 270.0528 [30][35]
54 physcione C16H12O5 284.0685 [35]
55 aloe-emodin C15H10O5 270.0528 [30][35]
56 nataloeemodin C15H10O5 270.0528 [21]
57 aloesaponarin I C17H12O6 312.0634 [36]
58 aloesaponarin II C15H10O4 254.0579 [36]
59 madagascine C20H18O5 338.1154 [37]
60 3-Geranyloxyemodin C24H24O5 392.1624 [37]
61 rhein C15H8O6 284.0321 [35]

2.3. Flavonoids

Approximately 13 flavonoids and their glycoside derivatives were isolated and identified from Aloe vera (Table 3Figure 3), including three types; namely flavone (62–67), flavonol (68–72), and flavan-3-ol (73,74).
Figure 3. Chemical structure of flavonoids from Aloe vera.
Table 3. Flavonoids isolated and identified from Aloe vera.
No Constituents Molecular formula Exact Mass References
62 apigenin C15H10O5 270.0528 [38]
63 luteolin C15H10O6 286.0477 [39]
64 isovitexin C21H20O10 432.1056 [39]
65 isoorientin C21H20O11 448.1006 [39]
66 saponarin C27H30O15 594.1585 [39]
67 lutonarin C27H30O16 610.1534 [39]
68 kaempferol C15H10O6 286.0477 [38]
69 quercetin C15H10O7 302.0427 [38]
70 myricetin C15H10O8 318.0376 [38]
71 quercitrin C21H20O11 448.1006 [38]
72 rutin C27H30O16 610.1534 [38]
73 catechin C15H14O6 290.0790 [38]
74 epicatechin C15H14O6 290.0790 [38]

2.4. Phenylpropanoids and Coumarins

Approximately 12 phenylpropanoid acids and their ester derivatives (75–86), and four coumarins (87–90), were isolated and identified from Aloe vera (Table 4Figure 4).
Figure 4. Chemical structure of phenylpropanoids and coumarins from Aloe vera.
Table 4. Phenylpropanoids and coumarins isolated and identified from Aloe vera.
No Constituents Molecular Formula Exact Mass References
75 cinnamic acid C9H8O2 148.0524 [40]
76 p-coumaric C9H8O3 164.0473 [38]
77 caffeic acid C9H8O4 180.0423 [38]
78 ferulic acid C10H10O4 194.0579 [38]
79 sinapic acid C11H12O5 224.0685 [38]
80 5-p-coumaroylquinic C16H18O8 338.1002 [39]
81 chlorogenic C16H18O9 354.0951 [38]
82 5-feruloylquinic C17H20O9 368.1107 [39]
83 caffeoylshikimic C16H16O8 336.0845 [39]
84 5-p-cis-coumaroylquinic C16H18O8 338.1002 [39]
85 3-(4-hydroxyphenyl) propanoic acid C9H10O3 166.063 [30]
86 methyl 3-(4-hydroxyphenyl) propionate C10H12O3 180.0786 [30]
87 7-demethylsiderin C11H10O4 206.0579 [30]
88 feralolide C18H16O7 344.0896 [31][34]
89 dihydrocoumarin C22H18O7 394.1053 [41]
90 dihydrocoumarin ethyl ester C25H26O7 438.1679 [41]

2.5. Phenylpyrone and Phenol Derivatives

Approximately three phenylpyrone derivatives (91–93), one triglucosylated naphthalene derivative named aloveroside A (94), and one 1-methyltetralin derivative feroxidin (95) were isolated and identified from Aloe vera (Table 5Figure 5). Nine phenol derivatives (96–104) and vitamin C (105) were also isolated from Aloe vera.
Figure 5. Chemical structure of phenylpyrone and phenol derivatives from Aloe vera.
Table 5. Phenylpyrone and phenol derivatives isolated and identified from Aloe vera.
No Constituents Molecular Formula Exact Mass References
91 aloenin A C19H22O10 410.1213 [42]
92 aloenin B C34H38O17 718.2109 [33][42]
93 p-coumaroyl aloenin C28H28O12 556.1581 [33]
94 aloveroside A C30H40O17 672.2265 [33]
95 feroxidin C11H14O3 194.0943 [30]
96 1-(2,4-dihydroxy-6-methylphenyl) ethanone C9H10O3 166.0630 [30]
97 p-anisaldehyde C8H8O2 136.0524 [30]
98 salicylaldehyde C7H6O2 122.0368 [30]
99 p-cresol C7H8O 108.0575 [30]
100 pyrocatechol C6H6O2 110.0368 [40]
101 gentisic acid C7H6O4 154.0266 [38]
102 gallic acid C7H6O5 170.0215 [38]
103 vanillic acid C8H8O4 168.0423 [38]
104 syringic acid C9H10O5 198.0528 [38]
105 ascorbic acid C6H8O6 176.0321 [38]

2.6. Phytosterols and Others

Five phytosterols (Table 6Figure 6) were isolated from Aloe vera gel, including cycloartanol (106), 24-methylene-cycloartanol (107), lophenol (108), 24-methyl-lophenol (109), and 24-ethyl-lophenol (110) [43]. Some polar and nonpolar lipids, as well as prostanoids, were also isolated from Aloe vera leaves [44]. Chemical investigation of the major constituents in Aloe vera leaves revealed moisture, ash, fiber, protein, lipids, minerals, organic acids, free sugars, and polysaccharides. Glucose, fructose, and sucrose were the main free sugars. Oxalic, L-Malic, isocitric, lactic, acetic, isocitric, lactone, citric, and fumaric acid were the main organic acids.
Figure 6. Chemical structure of phytosterols from Aloe vera.
Table 6. Phytosterols isolated and identified from Aloe vera.
No Constituents Molecular Formula Exact Mass References
106 cycloartanol C30H52O 428.4018 [43]
107 24-methylene-cycloartanol C31H52O 440.4018 [43]
108 lophenol C28H48O 400.3705 [43]
109 24-methyl-lophenol C29H50O 414.3862 [43]
110 24-ethyl-lophenol C30H52O 428.4018 [43]

3. Antimicrobial Activity of Aloe vera

Aloe vera plant extracts have antimicrobial characteristics that kill microorganisms (including bacteria (antibacterial activity), fungi (antifungal activity), and viruses (antiviral activity)) or stop their growth. Fruit decay is an important parameter influencing the postharvest quality of fresh produce. Previous studies have shown that the use of Aloe vera gel as an edible coating has positive effects on the prevention of fruit decay and microbial spoilage. The inhibitory effects of Aloe vera gel on the growth of mycelium (Penicillium digitatum and Aspergillus niger) was reported by Nabigol and Asghari [45], who performed a range of laboratory tests. They suggested that the inhibition of the mycelium growth rate increased with gel concentration. The 500 mL/L dose of Aloe vera gel was found to cause 100% inhibition of P. digitatum and 64% of A. niger. According to the findings of Kator et al. [46], 20%, 60%, and 100% concentrations of Aloe vera gel are effective in preventing the occurrence of decay in tomato fruits for seven days of storage. However, these authors suggested that a 100% concentration has significantly higher effects, and the positive impact may continue for 16 days of storage. Benitez et al. [47] reported that Aloe vera gel provides higher efficacy for the prevention of mesophilic bacteria and yeasts and molds than alginate and chitosan for kiwifruit slices. In another study, the shelf life of guava was reported to be increased by about one more week with the application of an Aloe vera gel coating, due to the fact that the edible coating prevents microbial growth [48]. Sitara et al. [49] conducted a comprehensive study regarding the antifungal activity of Aloe vera gel at three different doses against five plant pathogenic fungi: A. nigerAspergillus flavusAlternaria alternataDrechslera hawaiensis, and P. digitatum. The highest test dose (0.35%) of Aloe vera gel was reported to completely inhibit the growth of Drechslera hawaiensis and Alternaria alternata. In another study, the minimum fungicidal concentrations of Aloe vera against Botrytis gladiolorumFusarium oxysporum f.sp. gladioliHeterosporium pruneti, and Penicillium gladioli were reported to vary between 80 and 100 μL/mL, depending on the fungal species [50].
Previous studies have also shown that the combination of Aloe vera gel with some homogenizers, such as glycerol starch (0.15 g), improves the efficacy in controlling fungal decay and weight loss in cherry tomatoes [51]. The specific mechanism of action is still unknown, but it is known that saponins, acemannan and anthraquinone derivatives, which are found in Aloe vera, have antibacterial activity [52]. Navarro et al. [53] performed a study with Aloe vera gel alone or in combination with thymol on nectarines and reported that the Aloe vera gel alone is more efficient in prevention of the decay caused by Rhizopus stoloniferB. cinerea, and P. digitatumAloe vera gel coatings were previously tested against decay and found to significantly lower counts for molds, yeast, and mesophilic aerobics in different fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes [54][55], citrus fruits [56][57], raspberry fruits [58], blueberries [59], strawberries [60], and ready-to-eat pomegranate arils [61]. The preharvest application of Aloe vera gel treatment was also previously tested and found to be effective in postharvest storage; specifically, it was found to reduce the decay incidence of table grapes [62][63].
In a different study [64]Aloe vera leaf gel was found to inhibit the growth of two bacteria: Shigella flexneri and Streptococcus progenes. The antibacterial activities of A. vera gel was also reported by Wang et al. [65] and Cellini et al. [66] against Heliobacter pylori. Moreover, antiviral activities of A. vera have also been of interest to many researchers, wherein its positive influence has been reported against herpes simplex virus (HSV) type 2 strains by Zandi and Rastian [67] and against influenza A virus replication by Li et al. [68].


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    Wan, C. Aloe vera Gel. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 29 June 2022).
    Wan C. Aloe vera Gel. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed June 29, 2022.
    Wan, Chunpeng. "Aloe vera Gel," Encyclopedia, (accessed June 29, 2022).
    Wan, C. (2021, November 26). Aloe vera Gel. In Encyclopedia.
    Wan, Chunpeng. ''Aloe vera Gel.'' Encyclopedia. Web. 26 November, 2021.