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Phytotoxic polyacetylenes from roots of Russian knapweed (Acroptilon repens (L.) DC.)

Quintana, Naira, Weir, Tiffany L., Du, Jiang, Broeckling, Corey D., Rieder, Julie P., Stermitz, Frank R., Paschke, Mark W., Vivanco, Jorge M.
Phytochemistry 2008 v.69 no.14 pp. 2572-2578
Rhaponticum repens, weeds, invasive species, root exudates, allelochemicals, polyacetylenes, chemical structure, spectral analysis, phytotoxicity, bioassays, Arabidopsis thaliana, soil chemical properties, Colorado, Washington
There are several factors thought to assist invasive weeds in colonization of ecosystems. One of these factors is allelopathy, the negative effect of chemicals produced by one plant on neighboring plants, frequently mediated through root exudates and other plant leachates. Acroptilon repens (Asteraceae) is one of the most invasive and ecologically threatening weed species in western North America. A bioassay-guided fractionation of the root extracts of this plant led to the isolation of five polyacetylenic compounds, of which one [5'-methoxy-1'-(5-prop-1-yn-1-yl-2-thienyl)-hexa-2',4'-diyin-6'-yl acetate] was hitherto unknown. The structures of these compounds were elucidated on the basis of spectroscopic analysis (IR, ESIMS, 1H, 13C NMR and 2D NMR). All of the compounds obtained, except 1-chloro-4-(5-penta-1,3-diyn-1-yl-2-thienyl)but-3-yn-2-ol, showed phytotoxic activity against Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings. The presence of 4'-chloro-1'-(5-penta-1,3-diyn-1-yl-2-thienyl)-but-2'-yn-3'-ol was detected in the root exudates of aeroponically grown A. repens plants. None of the polyacetylenes isolated in this study were found in Colorado soils collected between September 2006 and July 2007 in an A. repens colonized site. However, polyacetylene 5 in A. repens infested soil from Washington was found in June, 2007. Contrary to our previous report, the compound 7,8-benzoflavone (6) was not detected in root exudates, nor was it encountered in extracts of roots, aerial parts or infested soil. Since we could not repeat this work, the original report has been retracted [Stermitz, F.R., Bais, H.P., Foderaro, T.A., Vivanco, J.M., 2003. 7,8-Benzoflavone: a phytotoxin from root exudates of invasive Russian knapweed [A retraction]. Phytochemistry 64, 493-497.].