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J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Mar 11;57(5):1821-6. doi: 10.1021/jf8033732.

Herbicidal activity of glucosinolate degradation products in fermented meadowfoam ( Limnanthes alba ) seed meal.

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Departments of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Statistics and the Columbia Basin Agricultural Research Center, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331, USA.


Meadowfoam ( Limnanthes alba ) is an oilseed crop grown in western Oregon. After extraction of the oil from the seeds, the remaining seed meal contains 2-4% of the glucosinolate glucolimnanthin. This study investigated the effect of fermentation of seed meal on its chemical composition and the effect of the altered composition on downy brome ( Bromus tectorum ) coleoptile emergence. Incubation of enzyme-inactive seed meal with enzyme-active seeds (1% by weight) resulted in complete degradation of glucolimnanthin and formation of 3-methoxybenzyl isothiocyanate in 28% yield. Fermentation in the presence of an aqueous solution of FeSO(4) (10 mM) resulted in the formation of 3-methoxyphenylacetonitrile and 2-(3-methoxyphenyl)ethanethioamide, a novel natural product. The formation of the isothiocyanate, the nitrile, and the thioamide, as a total, correlated with an increase of herbicidal potency of the seed meal (r(2) = 0.96). The results of this study open new possibilities for the refinement of glucosinolate-containing seed meals for use as bioherbicides.

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