Monday, 1 June 2020

May phytochemicals: Cinco de Mayo and a Sherlock Holmes poison

Root bark of Uncaria tomentosa ("Cat's claw", Gentianales) is used in traditional medicine. Oxindole alkaloids like uncarine are major U. tomentosa root bark constituents. They're associated with a variety of bioactivities, but are in need of more research! #PhytochemicalFriday

Drinking tequila leftover from #CincodeMayo? I too enjoy homoisoflavones - unusual phenolic compounds that only occur in some species. Those pictured here were found in Agave tequilana, the base ingredient in tequila. #PhytochemicalFriday

Happy #PhytochemicalFriday! Today: avenacins, fluorescent antimicrobial compounds produced by oat roots (Avena sativa). These triterpenoid saponins protect the plant against soil-borne pathogens and their biosynthesis is integrated with root hair development!

This #PhytochemicalFriday, birthday of #ArthurConanDoyle (creator of Sherlock Holmes): gelsemine, a poison similar to that in The Adventure of the Devil's Foot. This highly toxic compound from Gelsemium elegans ("heartbreak grass", Gentianales) is still used by modern assassins.

4 comments:

  1. Interesting blog. I'm from Bermuda. Cat's Claw grows here. Do you know much about the alkaloids in goji berries--they are nightshades, after all?

    I just wrote a post about plant phytochemicals. It's not from a chemist's perspective, though--just how things seem from a humble gardener's eye.

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    1. I am not sure about goji berries - I'd have to look it up...

      Where is your post about phytochemicals? I'd love to read it.

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