Presence of Androgens in Scotch Pine Pollen

Testosterone, Epitestosterone and Androstenedione in the Pollen of Scotch Pine P. silvestris L.

Authors: M. Šadan-Krehula, M. Tajić, D. Kolbah (1970), Experientia


Pine pollen has long been recognized for its potential health benefits, including its use in traditional medicine. While previous studies have identified the presence of estrogens in various pollen types, there has been limited success in detecting androgenic activity, particularly in corn pollen. This study by Šadan-Krehula, Tajić, and Kolbah aims to explore the presence and quantify the levels of three specific androgens—testosterone, epitestosterone, and androstenedione—in the pollen of Scotch Pine (Pinus silvestris L.).


To isolate and quantitatively determine the levels of testosterone, epitestosterone, and androstenedione in Scotch Pine pollen using various extraction and chromatographic methods.


Extraction and Quantification Techniques

The study employed four different methods for the extraction and quantification of the target androgens:

  • Method 1: Extraction with methanol, hydrolysis with methanolic KOH, followed by paper chromatography.
  • Method 2: Extraction with ether, hydrolysis with glucuronidase, and ether extraction followed by acid hydrolysis.
  • Method 3: Combined extraction with ether-ethanol and hydrolysis with glucuronidase, followed by acid hydrolysis and separation of ketonic from nonketonic steroids.
  • Method 4: A semi-quantitative approach using thin-layer chromatography on Silicagel HF 254.

Each method involved specific steps for hydrolysis, extraction, and chromatographic separation to isolate and measure the steroid content.

Analytical Techniques

  • Paper Chromatography: Used for the separation of ketonic steroids.
  • Thin Layer Chromatography (TLC): Applied for separation on Silicagel HF 254 using different solvent systems.
  • Spectrophotometric Determination: Quantification of steroids at specific wavelengths (555, 600, and 635 nm).


Research Significance

The presence of androgens in Scotch Pine pollen suggests potential applications in the field of endocrinology and nutrition. The study provides a foundation for understanding the androgenic properties of pine pollen, which may contribute to its health benefits. Moreover, the detection of these steroids at varying concentrations across different methods highlights the importance of method selection in quantitative analyses.

This study is particularly significant for individuals interested in natural health products, as it confirms the presence of androgens in pine pollen. The implications of these findings could be far-reaching, influencing the use of pine pollen in dietary supplements aimed at boosting androgen levels naturally.


This study successfully identified and quantified the levels of testosterone, epitestosterone, and androstenedione in Scotch Pine pollen. The findings indicate that Scotch Pine pollen contains significant amounts of these androgens, suggesting its potential as a natural source of steroid hormones. Future research should focus on exploring the biological effects of these compounds and their potential applications in medicine and health supplements.


Šadan-Krehula, M., Tajić, M., & Kolbah, D. (1970). Testosterone, epitestosterone, and androstenedione in the pollen of Scotch Pine (P. silvestris L.). Experientia, 27(1), 108-109.