Friday, 2 October 2020

August Phytochemicals! From balsa wood rafts to oleandrin

On this date in 1947, Thor Heyerdahl's balsa wood raft "Kon-Tiki" crashed into a reef in Polynesia having crossed 5000 miles of Pacific Ocean in 3.5 months. The raft's strength came from lignin, but also cellulose - the most abundant organic polymer on Earth. #PhytochemicalFriday

Happy #PhytochemicalFriday! Today: helenalin, a sesquiterpene lactone from Arnica montana (Asteraceae: sunflower family!). Though a toxic (plant defense?) compound, it appears to be able to inhibit human telomerase and is thus being investigated as an antitumor agent.
#PhytochemicalFriday? Oleandrin. Cardiac glycoside of the poisonous plant Nerium oleander and cousin of digoxin, Bond's poison in Casino Royale. As @wayneriekhof correctly points out: < 1% of hits in antiviral screens are effective drugs. Let patience and hard evidence guide us.
Happy #PhytochemicalFriday - you made it! Today: amarogentin - a characteristic component of bartenders' aromatic bitters. Isolated from gentian roots, this glycoside is one of the most bitter compounds known to human kind and is used as a standard in measuring bitterness.

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