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Plant Metabolites & Ergastic Cell Contents. Primary metabolites chlorophyll AA’s Nucleotides Simple CHO’s Membrane lipids *** ARE FOUND THROUGHOUT THE PLANT KINGDOM. Fx: Important roles in growth and development photosynthesis respiration solute transport translocation

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primary metabolites
Primary metabolites

chlorophyll

AA’s

Nucleotides

Simple CHO’s

Membrane lipids

*** ARE FOUND THROUGHOUT THE PLANT KINGDOM

Fx: Important roles in growth and development

photosynthesis

respiration

solute transport

translocation

nutrient assimilation

differentiation

Primary Metabolites
secondary metabolites
Definition:

All organic compounds

Have no direct function in growth and development

Also called secondary products or natural products

Differ from 1º metabolites in that they have a restricted distribution in the plant kingdom

Therefore: Only particular secondary metabolites are found in only one specific plant species or a taxonomically related group of species.

Secondary Metabolites
secondary metabolite fx
Secondary Metabolite Fx
  • Initially thought to be functionless end products of metabolism or metabolic waste products
  • Responsible for characteristics, odours, pungencies & colours of plants. Others give plants their medicinal, culinary or poisonous values.
  • They are synthesized to aid the producing plant’s survival.
secondary metabolite function
Secondary Metabolite Function
  • Ecological functionsin plants: protect against herbivory
  • Protect against infection by microbial pathogens
  • Attract pollinators & seed distributing animals
  • Act as agents for plant-plant competition
evolution of 2 metabolites
Evolution of 2º Metabolites
  • 2º Metabolites evolved through mutations in the basic metabolic pathways
  •  appearance of new compounds
    • happened to be toxic or a deterrent to herbivores and pathogens
      • As long as they were not toxic to the plant itself and were produced at a low metabolic cost
  • They gave the plants containing them greater reproduction fitness than undefended plants (plant-plant competition)
  • Undefended plants therefore left more descendants while the protected plants left less
    • And passed their defensive traits on to the next generation
slide7
The defence compounds (secondary metabolites) that increase reproductive fitness of plants by warding off fungi, bacteria and herbivores, also make them undesirable as food by humans.
  • Many NB crop plants have been artificially selected for producing relatively low levels of these compounds, which make them more susceptible to insects and disease
  • (e.g. of Wheat)
3 main groups of 2 metabolites
3 MAIN GROUPS OF 2º METABOLITES
  • TERPENES
  • PHENOLS
  • N2-CONTAINING COMPOUNDS
terpenes
Terpenes
  • Terpenes are lipids
    • synthesized from acetyl CoA or from the basic intermediates of glycosides
phenolic compounds
Phenolic compounds
  • Phenolic compounds arearomatic substances
    • Formed via the Shikimic acid Pathway or the Malonic acid pathway
nitrogen containing compounds
Nitrogen-containing compounds
  • e.g. alkaloids
  • synthesized from AA’s
carbohydrates
Sugars (glucose, xylose)

Starches (energy stores)

Cellulose (structural support)

Gums & mucilage

Carbohydrates
gums mucilages
Very complex CHO’s

Found in excellent vulnerary, demulcent & emollient herbs.

E.g. Marshmallow & Plantain

Gums & Mucilages
gums mucilage fx
Relax Gut lining

Relax Respiratory System

Reduce irritation and inflammation (GIT, Respiratory, US)

MO: soak up large amounts of water

 sticky jelly: dry irritated skin, inflamed/painful tissues

Some stimulate immune system: e.g. Acemannan (Aloe vera)

Gums & Mucilage Fx
plant alcohols
Occurs in plants in various forms

Constituent of volatile oils & sterols

Attar of Rose

Menthol in peppermint

Waxes (beeswax)

Cutins

Plant Alcohols
phenols
Phenol = basic building block for many plant constituents

Simple/complex in nature

Fx:

anti-inflammatory

Anti-septic

E.g. Salicylic acid (Willow)

Eugenol (Clove)

Thymol (Thyme)

Phenols
volatile oil function
Anti-spetic (Garlic/Thyme oil)

Stimulate tissue  irritation e.g. Mustard

 numbing e.g. Camphor oil).

Aid digestion

CNS action

Insect repellent

Anti-inflammatory

Anti-allergenic

Volatile Oil Function
proanthrocyanins
Closely related to tannins & flavonoids

Phenols

Fx: powerful anti-oxidants

Protect circulation from damage: especially circulation of the heart, hands, feet & eyes.

E.g. Crataegus spp.

Proanthrocyanins
tannins
Fx – give herbs their astringent & heamostypic action

Act on proteins and form a protective layer on the skin & mucous membranes

Bind the tissues of the gut

Reduce diarrhoea & internal bleeding

Externally: Rxing burns, sealing wounds & reducing inflammation.

Heal infections of the eye, mouth, vagina, cervix & rectum (mucous membrane tissues)

Tannins - phenols

Tannins
coumarins
(smell of cut grass)

Limited effects on the body

Di-coumarol, (metabolite)  powerful anti-clotting agent.

Functions:

Allopathic: Basis for warfarin (thrombosis in small doses): Horse Chestnut

(Rat poison in large doses)

Visnaga – powerful smooth muscle relaxant

Coumarins
anthraquinones
Plants containing anthraquinones  effective purgatives

(& good natural dyes)

Senna & Aloe

Also make stool more liquid (Constipation)

Fx: gently stimulate colon 8-12 hrs after ingestion (stimulate peristalsis)

Can only Fx when natural bile is present.

Tend to cause colonic pain (over-stimulate colon wall)

Anthraquinones
glycosides
Glycosides
  • Flavonoids
  • Saponins
  • Phenolic glycosides
  • Cardiac Glycosides
  • Cyanogenic Glycosides
flavonoids
One of the most common group of plant constituents

Polyphenols

Wide range of actions

Anti-spasmoidic

Anti-inflammatory

Anti-oxidant

Diuretic

Circulatory Stimulants

Cardiac stimulants

Anti-viral

hepatic

Flavonoids
saponins
Pharmaceutical Chemists  synthesis of cortisone (anti-inflammatory) & sex hormones

Saponins in herbs do not act in the same way  body can use them as building blocks to form appropriate chemicals.

Fx:

anti-inflammatory

Expectorant

Aid nutrient absorption

Saponins
cardiac glycosides
Discovered from Foxglove (1785)  recognised to support a failing heart

Many flowering plants contain cardiac glycosides

Fx: increase heart efficiency

Steady tachycardia

NO CARDIAC STRAIN

Strong diuretic

Cardiac Glycosides
cyanogenic glycosides
Based on cyanide (toxic)

Small doses

Sedative

Relaxant effect on heart & muscle

Wild cherry bark: suppress & soothe dry, irritating coughs.

Fruit kernels (apricot)

Cyanogenic Glycosides
bitter principles
Group of chemicals with an exceedingly bitter taste

Wide diversity of structure

Most belong to the iridoids, some to terpenes

Fx: stimulate digestive juices & appetite

Aid the liver

Anti-biotic

Anti-fungal

Anti-tumour

Play specific roles depending on herb & chemical combination e.g. Valerian & Devil’s claw

Bitter Principles
alkaloids
The most potent group of plant constituents

Effect: body & mind

Some: effect on lungs, liver, nerves, GIT

Fx in plant: ± source of excessive N2. (makes them pharmacologically active).

Divided into 13 groups based on their chemical structure (no general effects)

E.g. Atropine (Atropa belladonna)  reduce spasms, relieve pain & dry up bodily secretions

Alkaloids
glucosilinates
Found exclusively in the Brassica Family (Mustard & Cabbage)

Instant blistering & inflammatory effect on the skin

Applied to painful areas to increase blood flow

Helps remove excessive waste products

Eating: produce a strong pungent taste.

Glucosilinates
vitamins
Found in many medicinal plants

Lemon peel: Vitamin C

Carrot: Vitamin A

Brewers Yeast: B-vitamins

Nasturium/watercress: Vitamin E

Vitamins
minerals
Minerals
  • Plants draw minerals from the soil and convert them into a form which is easily absorbed & used by the body.
  • Kelp: I2
  • Dandelion: K
  • Horsetail: Silica
  • Nettle: Fe & Ca
  • Brewers Yeast: Chromium
calcium oxalate
Calcium Oxalate
  • Numerous crystals occur in plants
  • Ca-oxalate is one of the most common
  • Like trichomes & stomata, it also has diagnostic value
  • X polymorphs are characteristic in x plant spp.
crystal systems
Crystal Systems
  • In plants  2 crystal systems exist
  • All crystal polymorphs belong to one of these systems
  • Systems
    • Tetragonal System
    • Monoclinic System
  • Systems differ
    • in the amount of water they attain
    • OD
tetragonal crystal system
Composition: CaC2O4.3H20

Arises from supersaturation of the cell sap with calcium oxalate

Includes

Prisms

Cluster crystals (rosette aggregates)

microsphenoids

Tetragonal Crystal System
monoclinic crystal system
Monoclinic Crystal System
  • Chemical composition: CaC2O4.H20
  • Form in the presence of excess oxalic acid
  • Crystal forms include
    • Some prisms
    • Needle-like crystals (raphides)
    • Sphaero-crystals
slide38
When using Calcium oxalate crystal types as a diagnostic tool:

Crystal type

Size

Distribution

Should all be noted.

NB!!!
crystal function
Crystal Function
  • Uncertain
  • More abundant in plants growing in arid regions.
  • Ca: Causes epithelial cells to swell
  • Deter herbivory?
crystal forms
Crystal Forms
  • Prisms
  • Cluster Crystals
  • Microsphenoids
  • Raphides
  • Sheaero-crystals
prisms elletaria cardamomum
Found in

Cardamom

Small single prisms

Starch masses in parenchyma

Prisms – Elletaria cardamomum
prisms hyosciamus niger
Black henbane

Single prisms

Some have a crystalline outgrowth (plug)

Twin prisms

In crystal layer of spongy mesophyll cells (directly below palisade tissues)

Prisms – Hyosciamus niger
prisms cassia senna
Senna

* Single prisms

* Occurs in parenchyma cells

* Surrounds bundles of pericyclic fibres

* Forms a crystal sheath

Prisms – Cassia senna
prisms glycyrrhiza glabra
Found in Liquorice

* Single prisms

* Occurs in parechyma tissue

* Surrounds xylem & phloem

* Forms an incomplete crystal sheath

Prisms – Glycyrrhiza glabra
prisms rhamnus purshianus
Cascara senega

Crystal sheaths

Similar to liquorice

Occurs with the phloem fibres

Complete crystal sheaths

Prisms – Rhamnus purshianus
microsphenoids
Atropa belladonna

Aggregates occur in a crystal layer

Below palisade tissues

When a single cell contains an aggregate of microsphenoids  idioblast

Microsphenoids
raphides
Occur

Singly

E.g. Ipecavanha

In bundles

E.g Squill

Raphides
diagnostic value of calcium oxalate crystals
Diagnostic Value of Calcium Oxalate Crystals
  • Absence of crystals
  • Different form
  • Different size

 all used to identify adulterants or allied species from medicinal herbs.

diagnostic value of calcium oxalates
E.g.

Digitalis purpurea: (used medicinally) no calcium oxalates

D. thapsi: (not used medicinally) - small prisms

Diagnostic Value of Calcium Oxalates
diagnostic value of calcium oxalate crystals50
E.g.

Atropa belladonna:

Leaves have micro-sphenoids

Phytolacca leaves: have raphides

Diagnostic Value of Calcium Oxalate Crystals
diagnostic value of calcium oxalate crystals51
3 Solanaceous Herbs

Atropa belladonna

Microspenoids

Datura stramonium

Cluster crystals

Hyoscyamus nigra

Prisms

Diagnostic Value of Calcium Oxalate Crystals
lesson take away
LESSON TAKE-AWAY
  • Definition & types/effects of adulteration
  • Difference between 1º & 2º metabolites.
  • E.g’s & Functions of metabolites
  • Types of Ca-O crystals (E.g’s & Dx value)
end of lesson
End of Lesson
  • Thank You!