Thursday, 20 June 2019

May phytochemicals - spring scents and conifer essential oils

Is it #SpringTime where you live? If lawn mowing has begun, think cis-3-Hexenal. A primary contributor to the smell of freshly cut grass, this small aldehyde is enzymatically derived from the tail end of linoleic acid. Thanks @chdiep for the #PhytochemicalFriday suggestion!

Recent discovery! A gene from Leucosceptrum canum (mint family) underlying the synthesis of the tricyclic sesquiterpene cedrol, an important aroma compound found in conifer essential oils and some mints = potential for a synthetic biology-based cedrol supply.

Kainic and domoic acids: compounds from some Ceramiales (red algae) that accumulate in shellfish & sardines. As neuronal stimulants, these acids can affect marine predators (inspiring scenes in Hitchcock's "The Birds"?) & are used in neurological research.

Hyperforin, a compound from the genus Hypericum (which includes the medicinal herb St. John's Wort) that scientists suspect is involved in the plant's various reported pharmacological effects. Seems derived from prenylation of phloroglucinol.

Pinoresinol, a lignan made of two monomers by oxidase enzymes. Cooccurring dirigent proteins (first discovered during study of Forsythia intermedia lignans) are not catalytically active themselves, but control a coupling reaction's stereochemical outcome.