CUADERNOS DE INVESTIGACIÓN INSTITUTO DE INVESTIGACIONES INTERDISCIPLINARIAS UNIVERSIDAD DE PUERTO RICO EN CAYEY
Cytotoxic Screening of Tropical Plants Using Brine Shrimp Lethality Test Dra. Claudia A. Ospina-Millán Dra. Mayra Pagán-Ortiz Augusto Carvajal Karla Claudio Jaymie Rivera Isamar Ortiz Janibeth Hernández
Cuaderno 7 Año 2009
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© COM / MPO
Cytotoxic Screening of Tropical Plants Using Brine Shrimp Lethality Test
Abstract In recent years the study of plants has been the subject of renewed interest as a source of natural products with medicinal value. This study aims at the development and application of bioassays in order to detect potential sources of cytotoxic, and antitumour compounds from endemic and native plants from Puerto Rico. For this purpose, as a strategy for primary evaluation, the brine shrimp lethality test was chosen. The native and endemic species selected for the study were: Canella winterana, Croton Discolor, Goetzea elegans, Guaiacum officinale, Pimenta racemosa , Simarouba tulae and Thouinia striata. These species were dried and extracted with a mixture of CH2Cl2-MeOH (1:1). The crude extract was analyzed by 1H-NMR spectroscopy and afterwards it was suspended in water and extracted with solvents of different polarities. Fifteen of the twenty-eight extracts were active exhibited a LC50 ≤ 200 µg/mL. The most promising activity was displayed by extracts of Simarouba tulae and Guaiacum officinale with lethality values of 2 and 4, respectively. Key words: Brine shrimp lethality test, endemic and native plants, cytotoxic activity
Introduction Natural products are organic compounds that are present in living organisms, animals and plants. These are divided in two groups: primary and secondary metabolites. Primary metabolites are those compounds which occur in all cells and play a central role in the metabolism and reproduction of those cells. However, secondary metabolites such as polyketides, fatty acids, terpenoids, phenylpropanoids and alkaloids are characteristic of a limited range of species and do
not have a direct role in plant growth and development. Secondary metabolites have evolved as defense agents against predators and the surrounding environment.1 In addition, these compounds exert their biological effect within the organism that is responsible for their production and can affect functions in other organisms. For example, some plant metabolites can suppress cell division, a trait that makes them useful in treating cancer in human patients. Moreover, these plant products also have a wide variety of different uses in health human and industrial applications. It has been estimated that over 40% of medicines have their origins in these secondary metabolites. 2 Due to the wide application at pharmacological level, medicinal plants have gain importance worldwide. The work in this area begins with an assessment of the biological activity of crude (total lipid) extracts from plants. These preliminary results provide further access for an exhaustive analysis of its principal constituents. The lack of information related to the specific compounds and its biological effect in plants and other organisms, provides alternative lines of investigations, drug discoveries, and chemical modifications. Endemic plants are species unique to a particular geographic location whereas native plants are species belonging to a region if its presence in this region is the result of only natural resources. Endemic and native Caribbean plants have been less studied that those from Africa, India and Europe thus, a preliminary biological screening and subsequent isolation of the secondary metabolites from these plants would be a great contribution to document and expand the chemotaxonomic knowledge of these species. During the last two decades, there have been reports of the biological screenings of the molluscicidal (2002)3, antimycobacterial (1998 and 2001) 4,5, antiplasmodial (2001) 5, and antibacterial (1996, 2006)
activities of some tropical plants including Musaceae, Labiatae,
Rutaceae, Myrtaceae, Apiaceae, Rubiaceae, and Malvaceae from Puerto Rico. Additionally, two studies about the cytotoxic activity of some Puerto Rican plants has been documented. The first was reported by Guerrero and Robledo in 1993.8
In this work, six crude extracts of the
Euphorbiaceae, Solanaceae, Myrsinaceae, Polygonaceae, and Polygalaceae families showed LC50 values below 200 µg/mL in the Artemia Salina Test, indicating the potential presence of bioactive compounds. No isolation of bioactive compounds was reported later. In the second report by Chavez et al. tested the dichloromethane portion of the ethanol extract in a concentration of 1000 µg/mL using the brine shrimp assay. 9
The extracts with a LC50 ≤ 1000
µg/mL were further tested against Hela and CHO cells. The extracts from Annona glabra, Simarouba tulae, Tithonia diversifolia, Dendropanax arboreous, Piper jacquemontanium, Annona montana, Polygala hecatantha were active in both assays. These previous reports document the biological importance of secondary metabolites from Puerto Rican plants as potential antitumour agents. The isolation and characterization of the metabolites responsible for the biological activities is needed, as well as the study of some other species from families that have produced bioactive compounds. In the present study, seven species of native and endemic plants present in Puerto Rico were studied. These were: Canella winterana, Pimenta racemosa, Guaiacum officinale, Croton discolor, Gotzea elegans, Thouinia striata and Simarouba tulae, Canella winterana is a tree found naturally in Florida and the Caribbean. Some important constituents of this plant are monoterpenes like canellal (1)10, eugenol (2)11, eucalyptol (3)11, and drimane sesquiterpenoids like 9α-hydrocinnamolide (4)12 (Figure 1). The sesquiterpenoids exhibited phototoxic activity in a Lemna minor bioassay13. The drimane sesquiterpenoids isolated from other species of the Canellaceae family are known for their broad antifeedant,
antifungal, molluscicidal, and cytotoxic activities, however, the bioactivity of the Canella winterana secondary metabolites have not been reported.
H OH CHO
H OH CHO
Figure 1. Some Compounds Isolated from Canella winterana.
Pimenta racemosa is a native tree to the islands of the Caribbean, that is used in folk medicine for the treatment of different diseases, as tooth ache, abdominal pain, fever, influenza, rheumatism and pneumonia. This three is well known for the essential oil present in leaves and stems. This oil is composed of eugenol (5) and terpenes, such as α-terpineol (6) among other of its respective derivatives (Figure 2).
In 2001, García et al. reported the isolation of the
triterpene lupeol (8) and the anti-inflammatory effect of the methanol extract of this species. 14 In 2004, Saenz et al reported the antibacterial and antinociceptive activity of the essential oils and the aqueous extract of the plant. 15
Figure 2. Some Compounds Isolated from Pimenta racemosa
Guaiacum officinale is a tree common in the Antilles and tropical zones of America. The bark and the resin are used to treat rheumatism, tooth ache and skin disorders. The fruits and leaves contain triterpene saponins such as guaianin and officigenin (8).16 The resin contains lignans such as α-guaiaconic acid (9). (Figure 3).17
O O H3CO OH
OCH3 H 3C
guaiaconic acid (9)
Figure 3. Some Compounds Isolated from Guaiacum officinale
Croton discolor is a shrub of the floral region of Puerto Rico and the Virgen Islands. Folk medicine has used the tea from the leaves to treat rheumatism. Young leaves and branch tips have been used to treat coughs. Two aporphine alkaloids, crotonosine (10) and discolorine (11) had been isolated from this plant (Figure 4).18 HO H3CO
O crotonosine (10)
HO discolorine (11)
Figure 4. Alkaloids Isolated from Croton discolor
Simarouba tulae, is an endemic tree of Puerto Rico belonging to the Simaroubaceae family. Some species have been used in folk medicine as fever reducer, tonic and antimalarial. In the last years, its possible therapeutic purposes have increased because of its antimalarial, antiinflammatory, antileukemic, antifeedant and antiviral activities. 19 In 1997, Chavez reported the cytotoxic activity of Simarouba tulae against Hela and CHO cells.9 No studies about the chemical
constituents of this species had been reported. Finally, Thouinia striata (Sapindaceae) and Gotzea elegans (Solanaceae) are also endemic plants of Puerto Rico. To our knowledge, no references about the secondary metabolites and biological activity of these species had been reported. An efficient, rapid, and general test for evaluate the cytotoxic activity of extracts and compounds from plants is the brine shrimp lethality bioassay. This bioassay has a good correlation with cytotoxic activity in some human solid tumors and pesticide activity. 20,21 We decided to study the cytotoxic activity of selected tropical plants from Puerto Rico using the brine shrimp lethality test, and in the future use a bioassay-guide fractionation to guide the purification, isolation and subsequent characterization of the active constituents.
Materials and Methods General Experimental Procedures The NMR spectra were recorded on an Anasazi 60 MHz FT-NMR or in a Bruker (400 MHz). The chemical shifts are given in Î´ (ppm). Samples were dissolved in CDCl3 or (CD3)2SO and tetramethyl silane (TMS) was used as internal reference. The alive shrimp in the Artemia salina bioassay were counted by inspection of the well with the aid of a Stereo zoom microscope (10X widefield eyepieces 45 degree inclined body, 7X to 45X magnification). Silica Gel (70230 mesh, 60A) was used for column chromatography. The deuterated solvents (CDCl3 and
(CD3)2SO), TMS, berberine chloride, hexane, dichloromethane and methanol were purchased from Sigma Aldrich. Celite (521), chloroform and ethyl acetate were purchased from Thermo Fisher Scientific. Brine shrimp eggs were acquired in a local pet shop (San Juan, Puerto Rico) and the yeast was purchased in a local grocery store (Caguas, Puerto Rico).
Plant Material The leaves of Canella winterana, Thouinia striata, Croton discolor and Guaiacum officinale were collected at the dry forest in Guánica, PR in February 2008. The leaves of Pimenta racemosa were collected in Cidra, PR in February 2008. The leaves of Goetzea elegans were colleted at the Botanical Garden of the University of Puerto Rico in Río Piedras. The leaves of Simarouba tulae were collected in Patillas, PR. The plants were identified by professor Augusto Carvajal of the Department of Biology at the University of Puerto Rico at Cayey. A voucher specimen was reserved to be deposited in the herbarium of the Botanical Garden of the University of Puerto Rico.
Extraction and Isolation The air-dried leaves of Canella winterana (283.80 g) were crushed in a blender with three portions of 1L of CH2Cl2/CH3OH (1:1, v/v). The solid debris was removed from the combined extracts by a Celite filtration and the extract was concentrated under vacuum to yield 65.09 g of crude. The extract was suspended in 500 mL of water and extracted with solvents of increasing polarity, hexane (3 x 150 mL), chloroform (3 x 200 mL) and ethyl acetate (3 x 150 mL). Each of the extracts was concentrated to dryness by rotoevaporation. The weights of the extracts were hexane 25.01 g, chloroform 15.76 g and ethyl acetate 2.10 g.
The air-dried leaves of Croton discolor (46.59 g) were crushed in a blender with three portions of 500 mL of CH2Cl2/CH3OH (1:1, v/v). The solid debris was removed from the combined extracts by a Celite filtration and the extract was concentrated under vacuum to yield 8.50 g of crude. The extract was suspended in 300 mL of water and extracted with solvents of increasing polarity, hexane (3 x 100 mL), chloroform (3 x 100 mL) and ethyl acetate (3 x 100 mL). Each of the extracts was concentrated to dryness by rotoevaporation. The weights of the extracts were hexane 0.75 g, chloroform 3.09 g and ethyl acetate 0.19 g. The air-dried leaves of Goetzea elegans (270.11 g) were crushed in a blender with three portions of 1L of CH2Cl2/CH3OH (1:1, v/v). The solid debris was removed from the combined extracts by a Celite filtration and the extract was concentrated under vacuum to yield 25.10 g of crude. The extract was suspended in 500 mL of water and extracted with solvents of increasing polarity, hexane (3 x 150 mL), chloroform (3 x 150 mL) and ethyl acetate (3 x 100 mL). After removal of the solvents, the weights of the dry extracts were hexane 5.88 g, chloroform 1.06 g and ethyl acetate 0.52 g. The air-dried leaves of Guaiacum officinale (270.14 g) were crushed in a blender with three portions of 1L of CH2Cl2/CH3OH (1:1, v/v). The solid debris was removed from the combined extracts by a Celite filtration and the extract was concentrated under vacuum to yield 44.61 g of crude. The extract was suspended in 500 mL of water and extracted with solvents of increasing polarity, hexane (4 x 200 mL), chloroform (4 x 200 mL) and ethyl acetate (3 x 50 mL).
After removal of the solvents, the weights of the dry extracts were hexane 5.05 g,
chloroform 4.96 g and ethyl acetate 2.06 g.
The air-dried leaves of Pimenta racemosa (279.66 g) were crushed in a blender with three portions of 1L of CH2Cl2/CH3OH (1:1, v/v). The solid debris was removed from the combined extracts by a Celite filtration and the extract was concentrated in vacuum to yield 17.16 g of crude. The extract was suspended in 500 mL of water and extracted with solvents of increasing polarity, hexane (3 x 450 mL), chloroform (3 x 100 mL) and ethyl acetate (3 x 100 mL).
After removal of the solvents, the weights of the dry extracts were hexane 7.74 g,
chloroform 1.00 g and ethyl acetate 6.52 g. The air-dried leaves of Simarouba tulae (65.71 g) were crushed in a blender with three portions of 500 mL of CH2Cl2/CH3OH (1:1, v/v). The solid debris was removed from the combined extracts by a Celite filtration and the extract was concentrated under vacuum to yield 15.03 g of crude. The extract was suspended in 400 mL of water and extracted with solvents of increasing polarity, hexane (3 x 100 mL), chloroform (3 x 100 mL) and ethyl acetate (3x 100 mL).
After removal of the solvents, the weights of the dry extracts were hexane 2.33 g,
chloroform 9.21 g and ethyl acetate 0.90 g. The air-dried leaves of Thouinia striata (106.39 g) were crushed in a blender with three portions of 1L of CH2Cl2/CH3OH (1:1, v/v). The solid debris was removed from the combined extracts by a Celite filtration and the extract was concentrated under vacuum to yield 15.84 g of crude. The extract was suspended in 500 mL of water and extracted with solvents of increasing polarity, hexane (3 x 150 mL), dichloromethane (3 x 100 mL) and ethyl acetate (3 x 100 mL). Each of the extracts was concentrated to dryness by rotoevaporation. The weights of the extracts were hexane 3.61 g, dichloromethane 6.03 g and ethyl acetate 0.13 g.
Brine shrimp lethality bioassay Brine shrimp lethality bioassay was performed to assess the cytotoxicity of the crude and extracts of the plants.20 The bioassay was performed as reported earlier with some minor modifications. Brine shrimp eggs were hatched in artificial seawater (0.5 g eggs per liter) at the dark portion of a divided chamber. The artificial seawater was prepared using sea salt 30 g/L, containing 0.006 g of yeast as food source. After approximately 48 h the phototropic nauplii move through a hole in the division to the portion of the camber kept under continuous light. The nauplii were collected with a pipette and concentrated in a beaker. The concentration of the nauplii was adjusted adding seawater to the beaker until approximately 10-15 nauplii were found in 100 µL of solution measured with an automatic micropipette. The sample (0.002g) to be tested was dissolved in 100 µL of DMSO and diluted with seawater (1900 µL) to a concentration of 1 mg/mL. Berberine chloride was used as a positive control and prepared according to the sample. The blank solution (negative control) was prepared diluting 50 µL of DMSO in 950 µL of seawater. The bioassay was conducted in a 96 microwell plate. Several solutions of each sample ranging from 1.95 µg/mL to 500 µg/mL were prepared in triplicate. To each solution 100 µL of seawater containing 10-15 nauplii were added. The microwell plate was incubated at room temperature during 24 h. with constant lighting. After 24 h the dead nauplii were counted with the aid of a microscope and the lethal concentration (LC50 value) was calculated by probit analysis. Larvae were considered dead if they did not move during the observation. The LC50 value was obtained by regression analysis of the data of percentage lethality versus concentration.
Results and Discussion The selection of the plant species for this project was based primarily on the little information regarding their chemical composition in spite of the fact that some of the species belong to families well recognized for the bioactivity of its compounds. In addition, most of the selected species are native, meaning that they occur naturally in a region (the Caribbean) and two of them are endemic species, meaning that they are prevalent in a particular locality (the island of Puerto Rico).
Two important aspects of this project are worth to be mentioned, first
the importance of identifying secondary metabolites that may be unique to endemic species. The identification of such chemotaxonomic markers may aid in the identification of species by its chemical composition and it demonstrates the multidisciplinary character of the project. In addition, the isolation and characterization is guided by the bioactivity found in the extracts of the species. The solid-liquid extraction that occurs in the blender with dichloromethane/methanol produces a crude mixture of secondary metabolites. The complex mixture is further simplified by liquid-liquid extraction suspending the crude in water and using solvents of increasing polarity to separate each class of metabolites based on its polarity. The crude extract of each species was analyzed by 1H-NMR Spectroscopy and its response to the Artemia salina bioassay was assessed. The extracts of the crude were also screened by the Artemia salina bioassay. The most difficult challenge in natural products chemistry is the separation and purification of a compound from a complex mixture and its further identification.
spectroscopy is the most important tool for structure elucidation and it is extensively used for that purpose. However, when working with complex mixtures the interpretation of the spectra is difficult because of the crowding and overlapping of signals. The 1H-NMR spectra of the total
lipid extraction shows the occurrence of functional groups according to the chemical shift of the protons. The area of the signal is proportional to the abundance of that type of proton in the mixture. The absence or low intensity of any signal does not necessarily indicate the absence of the corresponding proton, because the signal may be diminished by strong signals in the spectrum. The results form the 1H-NMR spectra for the total extract is summarized in Table 1 and individual spectrum are shown in Figures 5-10. All of the species show absorbance in the region corresponding to aliphatic and allylic protons being one of these signals the predominant in the spectrum of Canella winterana, Thouinia striata, Guaiacum officinale, and Goetzea elegans. Pimenta racemosa has the most predominant signal in the aromatic region. In the spectrum of Pimenta racemosa the strong signals in 3.5 and 4.4 ppm correspond to methanol and water respectively. In the spectrum of Guaiacum officinale the signal at 3.5 ppm correspond also to residual methanol from the extraction. The occurrence of most of the proton types in Canella winterana is consistent with the variedty of functional groups as seen in Figure 1. In the Goetzea elegans spectrum the most predominant signals correspond to aliphatic protons although there are minor resonances in the vynilic and allylic regions of the spectrum. In Pimenta racemosa there is evidence in the spectrum of the occurrence in the species of aromatic and olefinic functional groups corresponding to compounds such as eugenol and its derivatives (Figure 2). The spectrum of Simarouba tulae has signals across the different chemical shifts. It is worth mentioning that the region from 3.0 to 4.8 has several signals corresponding to protons adjacent to heteroatoms, which could be due to the presence of highly oxygenated species as the quassinoids. The aliphatic protons are dominant in the 1H- NMR spectrum of Goetzea elegans with minor signals
in the aromatic, vynilic and α-heteroatom regions. Thouinia striata has its principal proton signals in the aliphatic and allylic regions. None of these last two species has literature precedent regarding their chemical composition.
Table 1. Types of Proton in the 1H-NMR of the Total Extract
X= C, O, N Y= X, O, N, S
Figure 5. 1H NMR spectrum (60 MHz) of Canella Winterana in CDCl3
Figure 6. 1H NMR spectrum (60 MHz) of Thouinia striata in CDCl3
Figure 7. 1H NMR spectrum (60 MHz) of Guaiacum officinale in CDCl3 ÂŠ COM/MPO
Figure 8. 1H NMR spectrum (60 MHz) of Pimenta racemosa in CD3OD
Figure 9. 1H NMR spectrum (60 MHz) of Goetzea elegans in CDCl3
Figure 10. 1H NMR spectrum (400 MHz) in CDCl3 Seven plants were collected, dried and extracted with a mixture of CH2Cl2-MeOH (1:1). The resulting crude extract was suspended in water and extracted with solvents of different polarities. We used the bioassay-guided fractionation and tested the extracts for the cytotoxic activity using the brine shrimp lethality test. Table 2 show that 15 extracts of 6 species exhibited LC50 values below 200 µg/mL. The most promising activity was displayed by crude extracts of Simarouba tulae, Guaiacum officinale and Croton discolor with lethality values of 2, 21 and 111 µg/mL, respectively. These species belong to families of plants whose genera have demonstrated contain compounds with anticancer activity such as quassinoids, lignans and cembranes. In addition the crude extracts also show activity, which infers that the cytotoxic activity can be attributed to a particular class of compounds. In contrast, the crude extracts of Canella, Pimenta and Gotzea elegans did not show activity against Artemia salina, but some extracts resulting from solvent extraction showed activity. This may be due to antagonistic effects of the complex mixture of compounds present in the crude extract. © COM/MPO
From this preliminary screening we identified extracts of Puerto Rican plants with cytotoxic activity. Subsequent isolation and identification of the active constituents is needed, as well as the determination of other possible bioactivities as antimicrobial and the testing against specific cancer cell lines.
Table 2. Brine Shrimp Lethality Data of Puerto Rican Plants Plant Canella winterana
Extract Crude Hexane Chloroform Ethyl Acetate Crude Hexane Chloroform Ethyl Acetate Crude Hexane Chloroform Ethyl Acetate Crude Hexane Chloroform Ethyl Acetate Crude Hexane Chloroform Ethyl Acetate Crude Hexane Chloroform Ethyl Acetate Crude Hexane Dichloromethane Ethyl Acetate
LC50 value in Âľg/mL >200 78 >200 >200 111 132 >200 >200 >200 91 188 >200 21 87 3 4 >200 47 86 189 2 >200 161 35 >200 >200 >200 >200
Aknowledgements This work was supported by Institutional funds provided by the “Instituto de Investigaciones Interdisciplinarias” at UPR-Cayey. Jaymie Rivera Gutierrez and Isamar Ortiz Rivera thanks the Amgen Bio-Minds Program and the PR-LSAMP Program for their financial support. We are grateful to personnel of the Chemistry and Biology Departments for the technical assistance. We also acknowledge Melvin De Jesus and the NMR facilities from the Department of Chemistry at UPR-Humacao.
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Canella winterana Classification
Canella winterana it
General Information Canella winterana, also known as wild cinnamon is a salt tolerant evergreen
is also known as
canella alba, wild
While the outer bark is gray the inner bark is yellow and aromatic with the smell of mixed spices.
The generic name is reputed
to originate from the Latin
diameter of 8 inches. Purple and white
This species occurs naturally from south word
showy flowers cover the tree in summer
Florida through the West Indies and
used in Spanish â€œcanelaâ€?.
and fall followed by bright red berries
has been introduced in Brazil and
clustered near the tips of the branches.
The species epithet honors a
It has an open canopy that
reaches a height of 10 meters with a
Traditional Uses In folk medicine, the inner bark tea is used to treat fevers, relieve indigestions and is gargled to treat inflamed tonsils. Externally,
the leaves are applied to
The rum extract of the bark is used as a
and inhibits insect feeding.
liniment to relieve rheumatism and
The bark and leaves are still used in
other pains, and its liquor is consumed
the West Indies to spice beverages
to treat stomach pains.
and season food.
On distillation the bark yields a volatile
The volatile oils found in the leaves
have also been used as additives in
caryophyllene resins, canellal, cineol, clovanidiol,
antifungal, antimicrobial, cytotoxic,
relieve rheumatism and headache.
for cinnamon as it is
myristicin, 1-pinene, drimane 1) Plants Profile for Canella winterana http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=CAWI accessed June 2009 2) Canella winterana hort.ufl.edu/shrubs/CANWINA.PDF accessed June 2009 3) Nellis, D. W. Poisonous Plants and Animals of Florida and the Caribbean 1st Ed. Pineapple Press Inc, 1997
Croton discolor Classification
This plant is also called white maran.
General Information Croton discolor is an aromatic 8 ft. tall
discolorine, which have been isolated
It has alternate leaves which
are dark on the top lighter on the
The species name is Latin and it refers to the fact that
from the plant.
the top and the bottom of
undersides. It has male an female flowers which born on separate stalks.
its leaves are of different
Its seeds are 0.25 inches long.
The plant toxicity is attributed to the alkaloids
The genus of over 600 species of is distributed worldwide and includes aromatic herbs, shrubs and trees.
Traditional Uses Folk medicine has used the tea from
Externally, the oil is an irritant and
the leaves to treat rheumatism. Young
may cause blistering of the skin
leaves and branch tips have been
used to treat coughs. A component of
found to promote tumors in mouse
decanoate) has been found to inhibit
leukemia. Croton oil found in leaves,
stem and seeds is effective in small
doses but in high doses causes severe gastroenteritis.
Croton discolor from Isla de Mona Puerto Rico
1) Plant Profile for Croton discolor USDA http://plants.usda.gov/gallery/thumbs/crdi8_001_tvp.jpg accessed June 2009 2) Nellis, D. W. Poisonous Plants and Animals of Florida and the Caribbean 1st Ed. Pineapple Press Inc, 1997
Goetzea elegans Classification
Goetzea elegans is an endemic plant of Puerto Rico also known as beautiful, Matabuey and Manzanilla.
General Information Goetzea elegans is characterized by its
known as the potato or nightshade family
trumpet shaped orange flowers. It is an
that has 75 genera and over 3000
evergreen shrubby tree that can grow
up to 9 meters in height. This endemic
have provided many poisons as atropine
species is only found in the semi-
and scopolamine that can be deadly in
evergreen forests in northern Puerto
Rico. In 2005 fewer than fifty individuals of the species remained. It is very rare, it can be found in moist limestone and moist coastal forests. Goetzea elegans pertains to the Solanaceae family also
Goetzea elegans Wydler
Several species of this family
Several vegetables of the Solanaceae family are important for their nutrient components these include the tomato, eggplant, potato and chili pepper.
Solanaceae family In the solanaceae family the leaves can
alternate. There is also variety in the arrangement and the form of the flowers, but generally the corolla is radially symmetrical and five lobed with five stamens.
The calyx and
Atropine has been isolated from several species of the Solanaceae family. It is a secondary metabolite that serves as a drug with a wide
corolla can be either bell-shaped,
variety of effects. It is a competitive
wheel-shaped or cylinder-shaped.
The Solanaceae family includes the potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, tobacco and petunias.
acetylcholine receptor. 1) Liogier, A. H.; Liogier, H. A.; Martorell, L. F. Flora of Puerto Rico and adjacent islands 2nd Ed. UPR Editorial, 2000. 2) National Collection of Imperiled Plants http://www.centerforplantconservation.org/ASP/CPC_ViewProfile.asp?CPCNum=2041 accessed June 2009 3) Plants Profile for Goetzea elegans http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=GOEL accessed June 2009 4) Kirkpatrick, Z. M. Wildflowers of the western plains 1st Ed. University of Texas Press, 1992
Guaiacum officinale Classification
Guaiacum officinale is also known as the tree of life, it is the source of the true lignum vitae, a trade wood also called guayacan.
heated, when it emits an agreeable
Guaiacum officinale is an ornamental
scent. This wood was once very important
evergreen tree with pretty rich blue
for uses requiring strength, weight, and
flowers, the trunk is a greenish-brown
hardness. All species of the genus are
color, the wood of slow growth but
attains a height of 40 to 60 feet, stem
almost always crooked, bark furrowed;
Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) as
the wood is extraordinarily heavy, solid
potentially endangered species. The bark
yields 1 per cent volatile oil of delicious
hard, oblong. The wood has a slight acrid taste and is odorless, unless
It is believed that the guaiacum did not
has been used to treat rheumatism,
had power to cure the syphilis but
chronic skin diseases, scrofula and to
rather alleviate the symptoms.
was successfully used. Nine years after its introduction to Europe more than three thousand persons had benefit from its therapy
Guaicaum officinale L
R1= azĂşcares R2= H o azucares
Saponins form G. officinale
This species occurs naturally in Florida
Guaiacum resin is an acrid stimulant. It
venereal diseases guaiacum wood
Distribution Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
As a remedy for
A number of saponins have been reported from different plant parts. Guaicins A to G have been found in leaves,
Heartwood contains lignans such as furoguaiacidin and furoguaiaodin.
Guaiacum officinale is the national flower of Jamaica.
1) Pereira, J. The Elements of Materia Medica and Therapeutics 4th Edition, Longman, 1857. 2) A Modern Herbal/Guaiacum http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/g/guaiac42.html accessed June 2009 accessed June 2009 3) Magical Flower http://www.flickr.com/photos/kam74/2462585674/ accessed June 2009 4) Plants Profile for guaiacum officinale http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=GUOF accessed June 2009 5) Daniel, M. Medicinal Plants Science Publishers 2005.
Pimenta racemosa Pimenta racemosa is also known as malagueta, guayabita, wild cinnamon and bay rum tree.
General Information Pimenta racemosa (Bay rum tree) is native to Puerto Rico and perhaps to the Virgin Islands and the other West Indian islands.
The tree is identified by its
opposite, smooth-margined, dark green leaves, which when crushed have a strong
fragrance. Its bark is gray to light brown, white flowers borne in round clusters and the fruits are small, elongated green fruits
grisea with its oil rich in geraniol, methyl
extracted from the leaves is used for the treatment
toothache. P. racemosa var. grisea is used
Harvesting and extraction of any variety with true bay rum produces an oil of inferior quality.
Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Dominican Republic, the essential oil
scented oil consisting mostly of methyl
basin for different afflictions. In the
Pimenta racemosa can be found in
terebinthina is used in the Caribbean
consisting mostly of geranial. A believed
varieties that have been described is the
to ease muscle aches, P. racemosa var.
variety has strongly lemon-scented oil
cooking, as a perfume, and as a liniment
eugenol and isoeugenol. The citriodora
that turn black in maturity. One of the
The leaves have been used as a spice in
Eugenol is the main constituent of bay leaf oil
Bay Leaf Oil Bay leaf oil or myrcia oil is yellow to dark brown.
The crude oil has a sweet
penetrating odor. compounds
Approximately 80 been
including monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, aromatic and aliphatic compounds. The major use for bay oil is in hair lotions with minor uses in perfumery and as a food flavoring.
1) E. A. Weiss Spice Crops CABI Publishing, 2002 2) Plants Profile Pimenta racemosa http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=PIRA accessed June 2009 3) Kirk, T. K. Tropical Trees of Florida and the Virgin Islands Pineapple Press Inc, 2009.
Simarouba tulae Classification
Simarouba tulae is an endemic plant of Puerto Rico commonly known as “aceitillo falso”
Simarouba tulae Urb
This family consists of approximately 25
The bark, wood and leaves from
genera and 150 species that are known
the genus Simarouba have been
includes oxygenated triterpenes such as
Usually their trees are
analgesic, antimalarial, sudorific,
slender, with long pinnate leaves on the
antidysenteric, amoebicidic and
top of a slender hole and racemes of
has been used as a remedy for the
In the early twentieth century quassinoids were introduced in Europe as nicotine substituent.
treatment of diarrhea, dysentery and dyspeptic affections.
Simarouba are the quassinoids, which belong to the triterpene chemical family and which are responsible for its bioactivity
chemical markers of the family.
known and some like isobruceine A posses a strong antileukemic activity.
Basic skeleton of a Quassinoid C-20
Some other quassinoids have antiviral, antimalarial,
1) Plants Profile for Simarouba tulae http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=SITU accessed June 2009 2) Savory, J. A compendium of domestic medicine 7th Edition 1865. 3) Daniel, M. Medicinal Plants Science Publishers 2005. 4) Wiart, C. Medicinal Plants of Asia and the Pacific CRC Press, 2006. 5) Memory, P. F. Medicinal botany 2nd Ed. John Wiley and Sons 2003.
Thouinia striata Classification
Thouinia striata is an endemic plant found only in the island of Puerto Rico
General Information Thouinia
dicotyledons. Thouinia striata pertains
ceboruquillo and serrasuela. This tree
to the Sapindaceae botanical family,
and shrub is an endemic plant of
otherwise known as the Soapberry
Puerto Rico. Ceboruquillo is part of the
the genus refers to the presence of saponins in
also a member of the magnoliopsida usually
“The common name of
known as flowering plants. This plant is class
the soft pulps of the
trees fruits. Solutions made from this pulp produce lather very
Sapindaceae family the
Many are lactiferous, i.e. they contain
milky sap, and many contain mildly
toxic saponins with soap-like qualities in
Sapindales. There are about 140-150
the foliage and/or the seeds, or roots.
Some of the sapindaceae species are
including maple, horse chestnut and
lychee. Sapindaceae members occur
edible fruits, medicinal plants,
throughout the world.
much like the one produced by manufactured soap. Some species of the family have been used as detergents in tropical regions.”
1) ITIS Standard Report Page Thouinia striata http://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=28708 accessed June 2009 2) Simpson, M. G. Plant Systematics Academic Press 2006 3) Nelson, G. The trees of Florida Pineapple Press Inc. 2004.