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Special Issue "Discovery of Active Ingredients from Natural Products"

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049). This special issue belongs to the section "Natural Products Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2019

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Tran Dang Xuan

Department of Development Technology, Graduate School for International Development and Cooperation (IDEC), Hiroshima University, Hiroshima 739-8529, Japan
Website | E-Mail
Interests: natural products; plant breeding; genomics; weed science; sustainable agricultural production; organic chemistry; analytical chemistry; biomass energy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Natural products are chemical compounds or substances originating from living organisms and can also be prepared via chemical synthesis. Natural products have been broadly utilized in the development of dietary supplements, medicines and pharmaceutics, cosmetics, and foods. However, identifying and determining active ingredients from natural products are prerequisites. This Special Issue welcomes research and review articles searching for active constituents from natural products, including methods of isolation and identification, and the development of protocols to regulate biological activities. Active ingredients involved in agricultural, food, medicinal, and pharmaceutical chemistry are cordially invited.

Prof. Dr. Tran Dang Xuan
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Molecules is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Natural products
  • Phytochemicals
  • Biological activities
  • Analytical instruments
  • Isolation and Purification

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
The Role of Astragaloside IV against Cerebral Ischemia/Reperfusion Injury: Suppression of Apoptosis via Promotion of P62-LC3-Autophagy
Molecules 2019, 24(9), 1838; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24091838
Received: 2 April 2019 / Revised: 4 May 2019 / Accepted: 8 May 2019 / Published: 13 May 2019
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Abstract
Background: Ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) caused by ischemic stroke treatments leads to brain injury, and autophagy plays a role in the pathology. Astragaloside IV is a potential neuroprotectant, but its underlying mechanism on cerebral I/R injury needs to be explored. The objective of this study [...] Read more.
Background: Ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) caused by ischemic stroke treatments leads to brain injury, and autophagy plays a role in the pathology. Astragaloside IV is a potential neuroprotectant, but its underlying mechanism on cerebral I/R injury needs to be explored. The objective of this study is to investigate the neuroprotective mechanism of Astragaloside IV against cerebral I/R injury. Methods: Middle cerebral artery occlusion method (MCAO) and oxygen and glucose deprivation/reoxygenation (OGD/R) method were used to simulate cerebral I/R injury in Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats and HT22 cells, respectively. The neurological score, 2,3,5-Triphe-nyltetrazolium chloride (TTC) staining, and transmission electron microscope were used to detect cerebral damage in SD rats. Cell viability and cytotoxicity assay were tested in vitro. Fluorescent staining and flow cytometry were applied to detect the level of apoptosis. Western blotting was conducted to examine the expression of proteins associated with autophagy. Results: This study found that Astragaloside IV could decrease the neurological score, reduce the infarct volume in the brain, and alleviate cerebral I/R injury in MCAO rats. Astragaloside IV promoted cell viability and balanced Bcl-2 and Bax expression in vitro, reduced the rate of apoptosis, decreased the expression of P62, and increased the expression of LC3II/LC3I in HT22 cells after OGD/R. Conclusions: These data suggested that Astragaloside IV plays a neuroprotective role by down-regulating apoptosis by promoting the degree of autophagy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Discovery of Active Ingredients from Natural Products)
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Open AccessArticle
Brassinin Represses Invasive Potential of Lung Carcinoma Cells through Deactivation of PI3K/Akt/mTOR Signaling Cascade
Molecules 2019, 24(8), 1584; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24081584
Received: 15 April 2019 / Revised: 19 April 2019 / Accepted: 19 April 2019 / Published: 22 April 2019
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Abstract
The epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a phenomenon that facilitates epithelial cells to acquire invasive potential to induce the initiation the metastatic spread of tumor cells. Here, we determined if brassinin (BSN) can affect the EMT process and deciphered its anti-cancer effects. BSN attenuated [...] Read more.
The epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a phenomenon that facilitates epithelial cells to acquire invasive potential to induce the initiation the metastatic spread of tumor cells. Here, we determined if brassinin (BSN) can affect the EMT process and deciphered its anti-cancer effects. BSN attenuated the levels of EMT linked genes and suppressed transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β)-mediated regulation of diverse mesenchymal markers. Additionally, BSN did increase the expression of various epithelial marker proteins in lung cancer cells. TGF-β-induced morphological changes and induction of invasive ability of tumor cells was also found to be abrogated by BSN treatment. Finally, BSN not only suppressed constitutive, but also inducible phosphoinositide-3-kinase (PI3K)/protein kinase B (Akt)/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) phosphorylation in tumor cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Discovery of Active Ingredients from Natural Products)
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Open AccessArticle
Characterization of Tapeworm Metabolites and Their Reported Biological Activities
Molecules 2019, 24(8), 1480; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24081480
Received: 21 March 2019 / Revised: 8 April 2019 / Accepted: 12 April 2019 / Published: 15 April 2019
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Abstract
Parasitic helminths infect billions of people, livestock, and companion animals worldwide. Recently, they have been explored as a novel therapeutic modality to treat autoimmune diseases due to their potent immunoregulatory properties. While feeding in the gut/organs/tissues, the parasitic helminths actively release excretory-secretory products [...] Read more.
Parasitic helminths infect billions of people, livestock, and companion animals worldwide. Recently, they have been explored as a novel therapeutic modality to treat autoimmune diseases due to their potent immunoregulatory properties. While feeding in the gut/organs/tissues, the parasitic helminths actively release excretory-secretory products (ESP) to modify their environment and promote their survival. The ESP proteins of helminths have been widely studied. However, there are only limited studies characterizing the non-protein small molecule (SM) components of helminth ESP. In this study, using GC-MS and LC-MS, we have investigated the SM ESP of tapeworm Dipylidium caninum (isolated from dogs) which accidentally infects humans via ingestion of infected cat and dog fleas that harbor the larval stage of the parasite. From this D. caninum ESP, we have identified a total of 49 SM (35 polar metabolites and 14 fatty acids) belonging to 12 different chemotaxonomic groups including amino acids, amino sugars, amino acid lactams, organic acids, sugars, sugar alcohols, sugar phosphates, glycerophosphates, phosphate esters, disaccharides, fatty acids, and fatty acid derivatives. Succinic acid was the major small molecule present in the D. caninum ESP. Based on the literature and databases searches, we found that of 49 metabolites identified, only 12 possessed known bioactivities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Discovery of Active Ingredients from Natural Products)
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Open AccessArticle
Momilactones A and B Are α-Amylase and α-Glucosidase Inhibitors
Molecules 2019, 24(3), 482; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24030482
Received: 29 December 2018 / Accepted: 21 January 2019 / Published: 29 January 2019
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1380 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Momilactones A (MA) and B (MB) are the active phytoalexins and allelochemicals in rice. In this study, MA and MB were purified from rice husk of Oryza sativa cv. Koshihikari by column chromatography, and purification was confirmed by high-performance liquid chromatography, thin-layer chromatography, [...] Read more.
Momilactones A (MA) and B (MB) are the active phytoalexins and allelochemicals in rice. In this study, MA and MB were purified from rice husk of Oryza sativa cv. Koshihikari by column chromatography, and purification was confirmed by high-performance liquid chromatography, thin-layer chromatography, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-MS), and 1H and 13C nuclear magnetic resonance analyses. By in vitro assays, both MA and MB exerted potent inhibition on α-amylase and α-glucosidase activities. The inhibitory effect of MB on these two key enzymes was greater than that of MA. Both MA and MB exerted greater α-glucosidase suppression as compared to that of the commercial diabetic inhibitor acarbose. Quantities of MA and MB in rice grain were 2.07 ± 0.01 and 1.06 ± 0.01 µg/dry weight (DW), respectively. This study was the first to confirm the presence of MA and MB in refined rice grain and reported the α-amylase and α-glucosidase inhibitory activity of the two compounds. The improved protocol of LC-ESI-MS in this research was simple and effective to detect and isolate MA and MB in rice organs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Discovery of Active Ingredients from Natural Products)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Postharvest Time, Heat Treatment, pH and Filtration on the Limonin Content in Newhall Navel Orange (Citrus sinensis Osbeck cv. Newhall) Juice
Molecules 2018, 23(10), 2691; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23102691
Received: 15 September 2018 / Revised: 7 October 2018 / Accepted: 18 October 2018 / Published: 19 October 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1054 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Delayed bitterness causes severe economic loss in citrus juice industry worldwide, which is mostly due to the formation of limonoid compounds, especially limonin, in juice. In this study, effects of postharvest time of fruits, heat treatment, pH and filtration of juice on limonin [...] Read more.
Delayed bitterness causes severe economic loss in citrus juice industry worldwide, which is mostly due to the formation of limonoid compounds, especially limonin, in juice. In this study, effects of postharvest time of fruits, heat treatment, pH and filtration of juice on limonin content in Newhall navel orange (Citrus sinensis Osbeck cv. Newhall) juice were investigated. Our research indicated for the first time that: (1) limonin content in juice would gradually increase to a maximal level and then remained almost constant thereafter as storage time going on, whereas the maximum constant value (MCV) of limonin content in juice significantly (p < 0.05) decreased with the increment of postharvest time of fruits being juiced; (2) heat treatment and acidification of juice only speeded up the formation of limonin to the maximal level while without changing the MCV of limonin content; (3) the juice after filtration exhibited much lower MCV of limonin content compared with the unfiltered one. These experimental observations might not only provide useful information for the development of new debitterness method for navel orange juice, but also strongly support the acid-promoted delayed bitterness mechanism, suggesting the formation of delayed bitterness might primary due to the acid-promoted rather than the enzyme-catalyzed lactonization of limonoate A-ring lactone (LARL) to produce limonin in juice of navel orange. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Discovery of Active Ingredients from Natural Products)
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Open AccessArticle
Metal Chelating, Inhibitory DNA Damage, and Anti-Inflammatory Activities of Phenolics from Rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum) Peel and the Quantifications of Geraniin and Corilagin
Molecules 2018, 23(9), 2263; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23092263
Received: 1 August 2018 / Revised: 17 August 2018 / Accepted: 3 September 2018 / Published: 5 September 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1370 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Whereas the preparation and biological properties of rambutan peel phenolics (RPP) were explored in our previous studies, the metal chelating, inhibitory DNA damage, and anti-inflammatory activities of RPP were evaluated and the important phenolics of RPP quantified in this study. Results showed that [...] Read more.
Whereas the preparation and biological properties of rambutan peel phenolics (RPP) were explored in our previous studies, the metal chelating, inhibitory DNA damage, and anti-inflammatory activities of RPP were evaluated and the important phenolics of RPP quantified in this study. Results showed that RPP had high Fe2+ and Cu2+-chelating activities with EC50 of 0.80 mg/mL and 0.13 mg/mL, respectively. RPP effectively decreased the production of hydroxyl radical with IC50 of 62.4 μg/mL. The protective effects of RPP against AAPH-induced DNA damage were also explored. RPP efficiently inhibited peroxyl radical-induced plasmid DNA strand breakage. The anti-inflammatory effects of RPP were determined using a lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced RAW 264.7 cell model. RPP significantly inhibited the production of nitric oxide (NO) and controlled the levels of inducible NO synthase mRNA in LPS-induced RAW 264.7 cells. The inhibitory activity increased in a dose-dependent manner. The above bioactivity of RPP was associated with its phenolic content and phenolic profiles. Furthermore, the contents of geraniin and corilagin in RPP were determined by an ultra-high performance liquid chromatography coupled with triple quadruple mass spectrometry (UPLC-QQQ-MS), showing 140.02 and 7.87 mg/g extract dry weight. Thus, RPP has potential applications as a novel nutraceutical and functional food in health promotion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Discovery of Active Ingredients from Natural Products)
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Open AccessArticle
Isolation and Purification of Potent Growth Inhibitors from Piper methysticum Root
Molecules 2018, 23(8), 1907; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23081907
Received: 10 July 2018 / Revised: 20 July 2018 / Accepted: 28 July 2018 / Published: 31 July 2018
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (576 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Piper methysticum (kava) root is known to possess promising weed suppressing activity. The present study was conducted to search for potent plant growth inhibitors from the root of this medicinal pepper plant. The ethyl acetate (EtOAc) extract exhibited the strongest reduction on growth [...] Read more.
Piper methysticum (kava) root is known to possess promising weed suppressing activity. The present study was conducted to search for potent plant growth inhibitors from the root of this medicinal pepper plant. The ethyl acetate (EtOAc) extract exhibited the strongest reduction on growth of Raphanus sativus (radish) (IC50 shoot and root growth = 172.00 and 51.31 µg/mL respectively) among solvent extracts. From this active extract, nine potent growth inhibitors involved in the inhibitory activities of P. methysticum root were isolated, purified and characterized by column chromatography (CC), gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). The six fractions purified by CC included two flavanones: 5-hydroxy-4′,7-dimethoxyflavanone (C1) and 5,7-dihydroxy-4′-methoxy-6,8-dimethylflavanone (matteucinol, C2) and six kavalactones: 5,6-dehydro-kavain (C3), a mixture of kavain and yagonin (C4), yagonin (C5) and dihydro-5,6-dehydrokavain, 7,8-dihydrokavain, dihydromethysticin and methysticin (C6). The amounts of 5-hydroxy-4′,7-dimethoxyflavanone, matteucinol, 5,6-dehydrokavain and yangonin were 0.76, 2.50, 2.75 and 2.09 mg/g dry weight (DW), respectively. The two flavanones C1 and C2 exhibited the strongest inhibition on shoot elongation (IC50 = 120.22 and 248.03 µg/mL, respectively), whilst the two kavalactone mixtures C4 and C6 showed the highest suppression on root growth of R. sativus (IC50 = 7.70 and 15.67 µg/mL, respectively). This study was the first to report the purification and inhibitory activities of the two flavanones 5-hydroxy-4′,7-dimethoxyflavanone and matteucinol in P. methysticum root. The isolated constituents from P. methysticum root including the flavanones C1 and C2 and the mixtures C4 and C6 may possess distinct modes of action on plant growth. Findings of this study highlighted that the combinations of hexane-ethyl acetate by 9:1 and 8:2 ratios successfully purified flavanones and kavalactones in P. methysticum root. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Discovery of Active Ingredients from Natural Products)
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Open AccessArticle
Chemical Composition and Antibacterial Activity of Essential Oils from Ferula L. Species against Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus
Molecules 2018, 23(7), 1679; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23071679
Received: 7 June 2018 / Revised: 2 July 2018 / Accepted: 8 July 2018 / Published: 10 July 2018
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (849 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Essential oils (EOs) were obtained by hydrodistillation of various parts of Ferula ovina (Boiss.) Boiss., Ferula iliensis Krasn. ex. Korovin, and Ferula akitschkensis B. Fedtsch. ex Koso-Pol., collected in the flowering/budding and fruiting stages. Eight samples of EOs isolated from F. ovina and [...] Read more.
Essential oils (EOs) were obtained by hydrodistillation of various parts of Ferula ovina (Boiss.) Boiss., Ferula iliensis Krasn. ex. Korovin, and Ferula akitschkensis B. Fedtsch. ex Koso-Pol., collected in the flowering/budding and fruiting stages. Eight samples of EOs isolated from F. ovina and four samples from F. akitsckensis were analyzed by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The major constituents of F. ovina EOs were α-pinene (6.9–47.8%), β-pinene (1.5–7.1%), sabinene (0.1–20.5%), β-phellandrene (0–6.5%), trans-verbenol (0.9–7.4%), eremophilene (3.1–12%), and 6Z-2,5,5,10-tetramethyl-undeca-2,6,9-trien-8-one (0–13.7%). The major constituents of F. akitsckensis EOs were α-pinene (0–46.2%), β-pinene (0–47.9%), sabinene (0–28.3%), eremophilene (0–10.6), β-caryophyllene (0–7.5%), himachalen-7-ol (0–28.2%), and an himachalol derivative (0–8.3%). Samples of EOs from F. ovina, F. iliensis, and F. akitsckensis were evaluated for antibacterial activity against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) pulse-field gel electrophoresis type USA300 (LAC). EOs from F. ovina exhibited the highest antibacterial activity compared to samples from other Ferula spp., with the most potent EOs being isolated from roots at the flowering and fruiting stages and stems at the fruiting stage (IC50 values of 19.1, 20.9, and 22.9 µg/mL, respectively). Although EOs demonstrated concentration-dependent inhibition of MRSA growth, analysis of the major constituents (α-pinene, β-pinene, and sabinene) showed that they had low activity, suggesting that other components were likely responsible for the observed bioactivity of the unfractionated EOs. Indeed, correlation of the GC-MS data with antibacterial activity suggested that the putative components responsible for antibacterial activity were, either individually or in combination, eremophilene and trans-verbenol. Overall, these results suggest that the EOs from F. ovina could have potential for use as alternative remedies for the treatment of infectious diseases caused by MRSA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Discovery of Active Ingredients from Natural Products)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Beta Glucan: Supplement or Drug? From Laboratory to Clinical Trials
Molecules 2019, 24(7), 1251; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24071251
Received: 12 March 2019 / Accepted: 28 March 2019 / Published: 30 March 2019
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Abstract
Glucans are part of a group of biologically active natural molecules and are steadily gaining strong attention not only as an important food supplement, but also as an immunostimulant and potential drug. This paper represents an up-to-date review of glucans (β-1,3-glucans) and their [...] Read more.
Glucans are part of a group of biologically active natural molecules and are steadily gaining strong attention not only as an important food supplement, but also as an immunostimulant and potential drug. This paper represents an up-to-date review of glucans (β-1,3-glucans) and their role in various immune reactions and the treatment of cancer. With more than 80 clinical trials evaluating their biological effects, the question is not if glucans will move from food supplement to widely accepted drug, but how soon. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Discovery of Active Ingredients from Natural Products)
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Open AccessReview
Review of Ethnomedicinal, Phytochemical and Pharmacological Properties of Lannea schweinfurthii (Engl.) Engl.
Molecules 2019, 24(4), 732; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24040732
Received: 25 January 2019 / Revised: 7 February 2019 / Accepted: 10 February 2019 / Published: 18 February 2019
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Abstract
Lannea schweinfurthii is a valuable medicinal plant species among different ethnic groups in tropical Africa. The aim of the current study was to review existing literature on the ethnomedicinal uses, phytochemistry and pharmacological properties of L. schweinfurthii in an effort to evaluate the [...] Read more.
Lannea schweinfurthii is a valuable medicinal plant species among different ethnic groups in tropical Africa. The aim of the current study was to review existing literature on the ethnomedicinal uses, phytochemistry and pharmacological properties of L. schweinfurthii in an effort to evaluate the therapeutic potential of the species. The relevant information on the ethnomedicinal uses, phytochemistry and pharmacological properties of L. schweinfurthii was generated from several sources including books, book chapters, theses, scientific reports and journal articles obtained from the library and internet sources such as SciFinder, Wiley, Web of Science, American Chemical Society publications, PubMed, BMC, Elsevier, Science Direct, Scielo and Scopus. Traditionally, L. schweinfurthii is used against reproductive system disorders, respiratory disorders, injuries, headache, blood system disorders, infections or infestations and gastro-intestinal disorders. The phytochemical compounds that have been isolated from L. schweinfurthii include alkaloids, anthocyanins, flavonoids, glycosides, phenols, saponins, steroids, tannins and terpenoids. The in vitro and animal studies carried out so far from the crude extracts and compounds isolated from the species exhibited acetylcholinesterase inhibitory, anti-apoptotic, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-giardial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiplasmodial, antitrypanosomal, hepatoprotective, larvicidal and cytotoxicity activities. Detailed ethnopharmacological studies emphasizing clinical and toxicological evaluations are needed to assess efficacy and safety of the species as herbal medicine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Discovery of Active Ingredients from Natural Products)
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