Mode of Action of Plant Natural Products

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747). This special issue belongs to the section "Phytochemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2022) | Viewed by 43972

Special Issue Editors


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Locality Campus Lagoas-Marcosende, Dpt. Plant Biology and Soil Science, Universidade de Vigo., 36310 Vigo, Spain
Interests: secondary metabolites; mode of action; bioherbicides; allelopathy; weed management; plant stress; climate change
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Guest Editor
Locality Feo di Vito, Department AGRARIA, University Mediterranea of Reggio Calabria, 89124 Reggio Calabria, Italy
Interests: allelopathy; secondary metabolites; essential oils; weed management; plant nutrition; metabolomics; mode of action; chemical interaction; bio-herbicides
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Instituto Agroforestal Mediterráneo (IAM), Universitat Politècnica de València, Camino de Vera s/n, 46022 Valencia, Spain
Interests: natural products; essential oils; plant extracts; weed biology; weed management; bioherbicides; allelopathy; biostimulants; plant stress
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Throughout the evolutionary process, plants have developed biosynthetic pathways to synthesize and accumulate a great variety of secondary metabolites, many of which play a fundamental role in the interactions between living organisms in the natural environment. Its specificity is especially noteworthy, usually showing a differential response depending on the target species. Although synthetic herbicides have been used to eliminate unwanted species in agricultural ecosystems for a century, their massive and indiscriminate use in recent decades has increased soil, air, and water pollution, and has induced the evolution of resistant weeds that have been exponentially increasing in the last thirty years. Therefore, the study of natural compounds belonging to different chemical families will increase the chances of finding an effective alternative to synthetic herbicides. As an added value it should be noted that these molecules tend to play more than one role in the metabolism of the producer plant, so there is a greater probability of finding compounds that have multiple sites of action, valorizing their bioherbicidal capacity.

Knowing the mode of action of the phytochemical substances that regulate plant growth will enable its use in the control of weeds in the framework of sustainable agriculture and at the same time will provide the industry with new modes of action for the preparation of organic–organic compounds that are more respectful to the environment, which could be substituted for traditional herbicides and help to solve the problem of resistance.

  • Allelopathy;
  • Isolation and identification of natural compounds from plants with herbicidal activity
  • Characterization of the primary and secondary effects of plant and plant-derived natural compounds
  • Morphological, physiological, biochemical and molecular perspectives to study the specific mode of action of natural products
  • Identification of the target and mode of action of pure natural molecules and/or mixtures on weeds physiology and metabolism
  • Use of natural products as repellent agents against parasites (Eg. Cuscuta; Orobanche sp.; Striga sp., etc.)
  • Use of -omics (genomics, proteomics, metabolomics) to study mode of action of secondary metabolites
  • Synthesis of ecofriendly natural-like compounds with biological activity against weeds.

Dr. Adela M. Sánchez Moreiras
Dr. Fabrizio Araniti
Dr. Mercedes Verdeguer
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • secondary metabolites
  • mode of action
  • natural compounds as bioherbicides
  • allelopathy
  • essential oils in crop protection
  • allelopathic crops
  • botanical herbicide
  • phytotoxins
  • natural herbicide
  • biological control
  • omics

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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32 pages, 7275 KiB  
Article
Use of a Biostimulant to Mitigate the Effects of Excess Salinity in Soil and Irrigation Water in Tomato Plants
by Javier Zuzunaga-Rosas, Sara González-Orenga, Roberta Calone, Raúl Rodríguez-Heredia, Ali Asaff-Torres, Monica Boscaiu, Sara Ibáñez-Asensio, Héctor Moreno-Ramón and Oscar Vicente
Plants 2023, 12(5), 1190; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12051190 - 6 Mar 2023
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3518
Abstract
Global warming is linked to progressive soil salinisation, which reduces crop yields, especially in irrigated farmland on arid and semiarid regions. Therefore, it is necessary to apply sustainable and effective solutions that contribute to enhanced crop salt tolerance. In the present study, we [...] Read more.
Global warming is linked to progressive soil salinisation, which reduces crop yields, especially in irrigated farmland on arid and semiarid regions. Therefore, it is necessary to apply sustainable and effective solutions that contribute to enhanced crop salt tolerance. In the present study, we tested the effects of a commercial biostimulant (BALOX®) containing glycine betaine (GB) and polyphenols on the activation of salinity defense mechanisms in tomato. The evaluation of different biometric parameters and the quantification of biochemical markers related to particular stress responses (osmolytes, cations, anions, oxidative stress indicators, and antioxidant enzymes and compounds) was carried out at two phenological stages (vegetative growth and the beginning of reproductive development) and under different salinity conditions (saline and non-saline soil, and irrigation water), using two formulations (different GB concentrations) and two doses of the biostimulant. Once the experiments were completed, the statistical analysis revealed that both formulations and doses of the biostimulant produced very similar effects. The application of BALOX® improved plant growth and photosynthesis and assisted osmotic adjustment in root and leaf cells. The biostimulant effects are mediated by the control of ion transport, reducing the uptake of toxic Na+ and Cl ions and favoring the accumulation of beneficial K+ and Ca2+ cations, and a significant increase in leaf sugar and GB contents. BALOX® significantly reduced salt-induced oxidative stress and its harmful effects, as evidenced by a decrease in the concentration of oxidative stress biomarkers, such as malondialdehyde and oxygen peroxide, which was accompanied by the reduction of proline and antioxidant compound contents and the specific activity of antioxidant enzymes with respect to the non-treated plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mode of Action of Plant Natural Products)
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18 pages, 3819 KiB  
Article
The Steroid Saponin Protodioscin Modulates Arabidopsis thaliana Root Morphology Altering Auxin Homeostasis, Transport and Distribution
by Ana Luiza Santos Wagner, Fabrizio Araniti, Leonardo Bruno, Emy Luiza Ishii-Iwamoto and Maria Rosa Abenavoli
Plants 2021, 10(8), 1600; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10081600 - 4 Aug 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2746
Abstract
To date, synthetic herbicides are the main tools used for weed control, with consequent damage to both the environment and human health. In this respect, searching for new natural molecules and understanding their mode of action could represent an alternative strategy or support [...] Read more.
To date, synthetic herbicides are the main tools used for weed control, with consequent damage to both the environment and human health. In this respect, searching for new natural molecules and understanding their mode of action could represent an alternative strategy or support to traditional management methods for sustainable agriculture. Protodioscin is a natural molecule belonging to the class of steroid saponins, mainly produced by monocotyledons. In the present paper, protodioscin’s phytotoxic potential was assessed to identify its target and the potential mode of action in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. The results highlighted that the root system was the main target of protodioscin, which caused a high inhibitory effect on the primary root length (ED50 50 μM) with morphological alteration, accompanied by a significant increase in the lateral root number and root hair density. Through a pharmacological and microscopic approach, it was underlined that this saponin modified both auxin distribution and transport, causing an auxin accumulation in the region of root maturation and an alteration of proteins responsible for the auxin efflux (PIN2). In conclusion, the saponin protodioscin can modulate the root system of A. thaliana by interfering with the auxin transport (PAT). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mode of Action of Plant Natural Products)
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20 pages, 2401 KiB  
Article
Physiological and Biochemical Responses of Ageratum conyzoides, Oryza sativa f. spontanea (Weedy Rice) and Cyperus iria to Parthenium hysterophorus Methanol Extract
by Mst. Motmainna, Abdul Shukor Juraimi, Md. Kamal Uddin, Norhayu Binti Asib, A. K. M. Mominul Islam, Muhammad Saiful Ahmad-Hamdani, Zulkarami Berahim and Mahmudul Hasan
Plants 2021, 10(6), 1205; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10061205 - 14 Jun 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 3081
Abstract
The current study was designed to investigate the effect of Parthenium hysterophorus L. methanol extract on Ageratum conyzoides L., Oryza sativa f. spontanea (weedy rice) and Cyperus iria L. in glasshouse condition. Here, Parthenium hysterophorus methanol extract at 20, 40, and 60 g [...] Read more.
The current study was designed to investigate the effect of Parthenium hysterophorus L. methanol extract on Ageratum conyzoides L., Oryza sativa f. spontanea (weedy rice) and Cyperus iria L. in glasshouse condition. Here, Parthenium hysterophorus methanol extract at 20, 40, and 60 g L−1 concentrations was applied on the test species to examine their physiological and biochemical responses at 6, 24, 48 and 72 h after spraying (HAS). The phytotoxicity of P. hysterophorus was strong on A. conyzoides compared to weedy rice and Cyperus iria at different concentrations and exposure times. There was a reduction in photosynthesis rate, stomatal conductance, transpiration, chlorophyll content and carotenoid content when plants were treated with P. hysterophorus extract concentrations. Exposure to P. hysterophorus (60 g L−1) at 24 HAS increased malondialdehyde (MDA) and proline content by 152% and 130%, respectively, in A. conyzoides compared with control. The activities of antioxidant enzymes (superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and peroxidase (POD)) were also increased in the presence of P. hysterophorus extract. Present findings confirm that the methanol extract of P. hysterophorus can disrupt the physiological and biochemical mechanism of target weeds and could be used as an alternative to chemical herbicides. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mode of Action of Plant Natural Products)
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18 pages, 1917 KiB  
Article
Herbicidal Effects and Cellular Targets of Aqueous Extracts from Young Eucalyptus globulus Labill. Leaves
by Mafalda Pinto, Cristiano Soares, Maria Martins, Bruno Sousa, Inês Valente, Ruth Pereira and Fernanda Fidalgo
Plants 2021, 10(6), 1159; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10061159 - 7 Jun 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 3495
Abstract
Eucalyptus globulus Labill. is a widespread exotic species that contributes to the formation of fire-prone environments, a great concern under climate change conditions. Therefore, sustainable practices to help locals managing eucalyptus stands are needed. In this perspective, harnessing eucalyptus’ specialized metabolism as a [...] Read more.
Eucalyptus globulus Labill. is a widespread exotic species that contributes to the formation of fire-prone environments, a great concern under climate change conditions. Therefore, sustainable practices to help locals managing eucalyptus stands are needed. In this perspective, harnessing eucalyptus’ specialized metabolism as a source of allelochemicals can be a promising approach for weed control. Thus, the main goals of this work were to evaluate the herbicidal potential of post-fire regenerated E. globulus leaves against Portulaca oleracea L. and to unravel the physiological mechanisms behind this phytotoxic action. For this, aqueous extracts of fresh (FLE; 617 g FW L−1) or oven-dried leaves (DLE; 250 g DW L−1) were foliar-sprayed at different dilutions in purslane seedlings. After five weeks, results revealed that DLE at the highest dose detained the greatest herbicidal activity, affecting purslane growth and cellular viability. Moreover, biochemical data pointed towards an overproduction of reactive oxygen species, causing harsh oxidative damage in roots, where the upregulation of important cellular players, like sugars, amino acids, and proline, was not able to reestablish redox homeostasis. Overall, this study proved that dried leaves from young E. globulus had potent herbicidal properties against P. oleracea and can represent a feasible strategy for weed management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mode of Action of Plant Natural Products)
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17 pages, 2098 KiB  
Article
Canavanine Increases the Content of Phenolic Compounds in Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) Roots
by Pawel Staszek, Urszula Krasuska, Magdalena Bederska-Błaszczyk and Agnieszka Gniazdowska
Plants 2020, 9(11), 1595; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9111595 - 17 Nov 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2359
Abstract
Canavanine (CAN) is a nonproteinogenic amino acid, and its toxicity comes from its utilization instead of arginine in many cellular processes. As presented in previous experiments, supplementation of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) with CAN led to decreased nitric oxide (NO) level and [...] Read more.
Canavanine (CAN) is a nonproteinogenic amino acid, and its toxicity comes from its utilization instead of arginine in many cellular processes. As presented in previous experiments, supplementation of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) with CAN led to decreased nitric oxide (NO) level and induced secondary oxidative stress. CAN improved total antioxidant capacity in roots, with parallel inhibition of enzymatic antioxidants. The aim of this work was to determine how CAN-dependent limitation of NO emission and reactive oxygen species overproduction impact content, localization, and metabolism of phenolic compounds (PCs) in tomato roots. Tomato seedlings were fed with CAN (10 and 50 µM) for 24 or 72 h. Inhibition of root growth due to CAN supplementation correlated with increased concentration of total PCs; CAN (50 µM) led to the homogeneous accumulation of PCs all over the roots. CAN increased also flavonoids content in root tips. The activity of polyphenol oxidases and phenylalanine ammonia-lyase increased only after prolonged treatment with 50 µM CAN, while expressions of genes encoding these enzymes were modified variously, irrespectively of CAN dosage and duration of the culture. PCs act as the important elements of the cellular antioxidant system under oxidative stress induced by CAN. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mode of Action of Plant Natural Products)
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21 pages, 3279 KiB  
Article
Prediction of Dhurrin Metabolism by Transcriptome and Metabolome Analyses in Sorghum
by Sang Chul Choi, Yong Suk Chung, Yun Gyeong Lee, Yuna Kang, Yun Ji Park, Sang Un Park and Changsoo Kim
Plants 2020, 9(10), 1390; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9101390 - 19 Oct 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2865
Abstract
Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.)) Moench is an important food for humans and feed for livestock. Sorghum contains dhurrin which can be degraded into toxic hydrogen cyanide. Here, we report the expression patterns of 14 candidate genes related to dhurrin ((S)-4-Hydroxymandelnitrile-β-D-glucopyranoside) [...] Read more.
Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.)) Moench is an important food for humans and feed for livestock. Sorghum contains dhurrin which can be degraded into toxic hydrogen cyanide. Here, we report the expression patterns of 14 candidate genes related to dhurrin ((S)-4-Hydroxymandelnitrile-β-D-glucopyranoside) metabolism and the effects of the gene expression on specific metabolite content in selected sorghum accessions. Dhurrin-related metabolism is vigorous in the early stages of development of sorghum. The dhurrin contents of most accessions tested were in the range of approximately 6–22 μg mg−1 fresh leaf tissue throughout growth. The p-hydroxybenzaldehyde (pHB) contents were high at seedling stages, but almost nonexistent at adult stages. The contents of p-hydroxyphenylacetic acid (pHPAAc) were relatively low throughout growth compared to those of dhurrin or pHB. Generally, the expression of the candidate genes was higher at seedling stage than at other stages and decreased gradually as plants grew. In addition, we identified significant SNPs, and six of them were potentially associated with non-synonymous changes in CAS1. Our results may provide the basis for choosing breeding materials to regulate cyanide contents in sorghum varieties to prevent HCN toxicity of livestock or to promote drought tolerance or pathogen resistance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mode of Action of Plant Natural Products)
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Review

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21 pages, 1408 KiB  
Review
Bioherbicides: An Eco-Friendly Tool for Sustainable Weed Management
by Mahmudul Hasan, Muhammad Saiful Ahmad-Hamdani, Adam Mustafa Rosli and Hafizuddin Hamdan
Plants 2021, 10(6), 1212; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10061212 - 15 Jun 2021
Cited by 103 | Viewed by 20416
Abstract
Weed management is an arduous undertaking in crop production. Integrated weed management, inclusive of the application of bioherbicides, is an emerging weed control strategy toward sustainable agriculture. In general, bioherbicides are derived either from plants containing phytotoxic allelochemicals or certain disease-carrying microbes that [...] Read more.
Weed management is an arduous undertaking in crop production. Integrated weed management, inclusive of the application of bioherbicides, is an emerging weed control strategy toward sustainable agriculture. In general, bioherbicides are derived either from plants containing phytotoxic allelochemicals or certain disease-carrying microbes that can suppress weed populations. While bioherbicides have exhibited great promise in deterring weed seed germination and growth, only a few in vitro studies have been conducted on the physiological responses they evoke in weeds. This review discusses bioherbicide products that are currently available on the market, bioherbicide impact on weed physiology, and potential factors influencing bioherbicide efficacy. A new promising bioherbicide product is introduced at the end of this paper. When absorbed, phytotoxic plant extracts or metabolites disrupt cell membrane integrity and important biochemical processes in weeds. The phytotoxic impact on weed growth is reflected in low levels of root cell division, nutrient absorption, and growth hormone and pigment synthesis, as well as in the development of reactive oxygen species (ROS), stress-related hormones, and abnormal antioxidant activity. The inconsistency of bioherbicide efficacy is a primary factor restricting their widespread use, which is influenced by factors such as bioactive compound content, weed control spectrum, formulation, and application method. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mode of Action of Plant Natural Products)
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20 pages, 2232 KiB  
Review
Proving the Mode of Action of Phytotoxic Phytochemicals
by Stephen O. Duke, Zhiqiang Pan and Joanna Bajsa-Hirschel
Plants 2020, 9(12), 1756; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9121756 - 11 Dec 2020
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 3926
Abstract
Knowledge of the mode of action of an allelochemical can be valuable for several reasons, such as proving and elucidating the role of the compound in nature and evaluating its potential utility as a pesticide. However, discovery of the molecular target site of [...] Read more.
Knowledge of the mode of action of an allelochemical can be valuable for several reasons, such as proving and elucidating the role of the compound in nature and evaluating its potential utility as a pesticide. However, discovery of the molecular target site of a natural phytotoxin can be challenging. Because of this, we know little about the molecular targets of relatively few allelochemicals. It is much simpler to describe the secondary effects of these compounds, and, as a result, there is much information about these effects, which usually tell us little about the mode of action. This review describes the many approaches to molecular target site discovery, with an attempt to point out the pitfalls of each approach. Clues from molecular structure, phenotypic effects, physiological effects, omics studies, genetic approaches, and use of artificial intelligence are discussed. All these approaches can be confounded if the phytotoxin has more than one molecular target at similar concentrations or is a prophytotoxin, requiring structural alteration to create an active compound. Unequivocal determination of the molecular target site requires proof of activity on the function of the target protein and proof that a resistant form of the target protein confers resistance to the target organism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mode of Action of Plant Natural Products)
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