Biological activities of compounds from Piper species

Jinghai Wen, Florida International University


It is well established that secondary metabolites play an important role in plant chemical defense. In an effort to find natural herbicides research on plant growth regulatory activity of secondary metabolites has received more and more attention recently. The genus Piper has been an important source for useful secondary metabolites. Crude extracts from Piper species inhibited gram-positive bacteria and higher plant growth under laboratory conditions. Bioassay-guided isolation and purification lead to the identification of safrole, a phenylpropene, as the responsible agent for the inhibitory activity. Safrole was found to leach from naturally fallen leaves with water. Mechanisms of plant growth inhibition by safrole were investigated. Disassociation of cell membrane from cell walls was determined to be a major cause. Phenylpropenes structurally similar to safrole had similar phytogrowth inhibitory activity. It is postulated that phenylpropanoids are an important group of naturally occurring secondary metabolites in plant-plant interactions.

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Recommended Citation

Wen, Jinghai, "Biological activities of compounds from Piper species" (1998). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI9903435.