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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2000 Mar 5;269(1):290-5.

Identification of benzodiazepines in Artemisia dracunculus and Solanum tuberosum rationalizing their endogenous formation in plant tissue.

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Institute of Food Chemistry, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, D-97074, Germany.


Sterile cultivated plant cell tissues and cell regenerates of several species were tested for their binding affinity to the central human benzodiazepine receptor. Binding activity was found in extracts of Artemisia dracunculus cell tissue (IC(50) = 7 microg/ml) and, to a lesser extent, in plant regenerates of potato herb (Solanum tuberosum). Preparative HPLC led to the isolation of fractions with a significant displacing potency in the benzodiazepine receptor binding assay. Using on-line HPLC-electrospray-tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-ESI-MS/MS) in the "selected reaction monitoring" (SRM) mode, delorazepam and temazepam were found in amounts of about 100 to 200 ng/g cell tissue of Artemisia dracunculus, whereas sterile potato herb contained temazepam and diazepam ranging approximately from 70 to 450 ng/g cell tissue. It is the first report on the endogenous formation of benzodiazepines by plant cells, as any interaction of microorganisms and environmental factors was excluded.

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