Monday, 5 August 2019

July phytochemicals - chemotheraputics from plants and more

Camptothecin - an alkaloid discovered during a natural products anticancer activity screen - is a topoisomerase inhibitor originally isolated from Camptotheca acuminata, a plant in traditional Chinese medicine. Structural analogs are current chemotheraputics!

This week: quassin, a (degraded) triterpenoid found in Quassia amara that is apparently one of the most bitter compounds in the world - as many as 50 times more bitter than quinine! It and its structural relatives exhibit a variety of biological activites.

Podophyllotoxin - a lignan derivative from above ground roots of mayapple. It can be converted into etoposide, a chemotheraputic on the WHO's list of essential medicines.

Today: (iso)masticadienonic acids - two compounds in mastic, a resin from the tree Pistacia lentiscus. These compounds may contribute to the resin's many reported bioactivites, for which it is featured on today's @nytimes front page.