Thursday, 7 January 2021

December phytochemicals - the flavor of cinnamon

We made it to #PhytochemicalFriday! Today: phyllodulcin - a coumarin found in several Hydrangea species (incl. macrophylla, shown here). It is hundreds of times sweeter than sugar. Several synthetic organic routes to this compound are known... but biosynthesis is unknown!

Happy #PhytochemicalFriday! Continuing the theme of molecules >100 times sweeter than sugar (thanks @TunnicliffeRoss!), let's look at mogroside V - a triterpenoid glycoside from Siraitia grosvenorii (Cucurbitaceae). A sweetener Asia for 100s (if not 1000s) of years - amazing!

Happy #PhytochemicalFriday! Raise a glass of #Christmas cheer to cinnamaldehyde. Isolated from bark of Cinnamomum verum (the cinnamon tree), this small, simple molecule underlies the cinnamon flavor and is a favorite in gum, beverages, and cereals - it can even repel mosquitos!

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

November Phytochemicals - Another month, another sweetener

Happy #PhytochemicalFriday! Today: trilobatin, a compound from apple leaves (Malus domestica) with potential as a plant-based low-calorie sweetener. A new report in @PlantPhys ( describes the reconstruction of trilobatin biosynthesis in tobacco. So cool!

Happy #PhytochemicalFriday! Today: momilactone B - a diterpenoid produced in Oryza sativa (rice) roots. This compound is allelopathic - it's able to inhibit the growth of plants competing with its maker. Its biosynthetic pathway was recently discovered (!

Tuesday, 5 January 2021

October phytochemicals - Inconceivable!

Happy #PhytochemicalFriday! Today: lycorine, a toxic alkaloid (a nitrogen-containing compound) found in daffodils and some lilies (such as Clivia miniata, Amaryllidaceae). It seems to interfere with protein synthesis if ingested - i.e. don't confuse daffodil bulbs with onions!

Today, iocaine - an odorless, tasteless, plant-based powder from Australia that dissolves instantly in liquid and is among the more deadly poisons known to man. At least one can build up an immunity to it! Happy 33rd birthday to The Princess Bride, and happy #PhytochemicalFriday!
#PhytochemicalFriday! Eugenol, a phenylpropene with a pleasant, spicy scent: the main aroma compound in cloves (Syzygium aromaticum buds). Experience it by lighting a festive autumn candle or have your dentist mix it with zinc oxide to make a tooth filling. Thanks @nicole_groth_!