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Molecules. 2012 Feb 6;17(2):1437-47. doi: 10.3390/molecules17021437.

The sesquiterpenes β-caryophyllene and caryophyllene oxide isolated from Senecio salignus act as phytogrowth and photosynthesis inhibitors.

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Departamento de Bioquímica, Facultad de Química, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad Universitaria, Delegación Coyoacan, México D. F. 04510, Mexico.


The n-hexane extract of S. salignus plants inhibited ATP synthesis and two sesquiterpenes, the β-caryophyllene (1) and caryophyllene oxide (2) were isolated from this nonpolar fraction. Compound 1 inhibited by 42% the root elongation of Physalis ixocarpa seedlings at 50 µg/mL and by 53% at 150 µg/mL, whereas at 150 µg/mL this compound only inhibited root elongation of Echinochloa crus-galli by 30%. On the other hand, compound 2 had no effect on either germination or root and stem growth of E. cruss galli and P. ixocarpa. However, 1 and 2 inhibited the dry biomass of P. ixocarpa plants grown for 18 days previous to treatment and it was found that 1 was the most active biomass inhibitor. The Chl a fluorescence transient in vivo experiment indicates that 1 (100 µg/mL) has a major effect at 72 h after treatment on leaves of P. ixocarpa plants by inhibiting photosystem II (PS II) transforming active reaction centers to "heat sinks" or the formation of silent reaction centers unable to reduce Q(A). β-Caryophyllene also induces chlorosis on treated leaves.

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