Quercetin is one the most abundant flavonoids in the human diet. Although it is well known that quercetin exhibits a range of biological activities, the mechanisms behind these activities remain unresolved. The aim of this work is to progress in the knowledge of the molecular mechanisms involved in the biological effects of quercetin using Caenorhabditis elegans as a model organism. With this aim, the nematode has been used to explore the ability of this flavonoid to modulate the insulin/insulin-like growth factor 1(IGF-1) signaling pathway (IIS) and the expression of some genes related to stress response. Different methodological approaches have been used, i.e., assays in knockout mutant worms, gene expression assessment by RT-qPCR, and C. elegans transgenic strains expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporters. The results showed that the improvement of the oxidative stress resistance of C. elegans induced by quercetin could be explained, at least in part, by the modulation of the insulin signaling pathway, involving genes age-1, akt-1, akt-2, daf-18, sgk-1, daf-2, and skn-1. However, this effect could be independent of the transcription factors DAF-16 and HSF-1 that regulate this pathway. Moreover, quercetin was also able to increase expression of hsp-16.2 in aged worms. This observation could be of particular interest to explain the effects of enhanced lifespan and greater resistance to stress induced by quercetin in C. elegans, since the expression of many heat shock proteins diminishes in aging worms.
Interactions between polyphenols and gut microbiota are indeed a major issue of current interest in food science research. Knowledge in this subject is progressing as the experimental procedures and analysis techniques do. The aim of this article is to critically review the more leading‐edge approaches that have been applied so far in the study of the interactions between grape/wine polyphenols and gut microbiota. This is the case of in vitro dynamic gastrointestinal simulation models that try to mitigate the limitations of simple static models (batch culture fermentations). More complex approaches include the experimentation with animals (mice, rats, pigs, lambs and chicks) and nutritional intervention studies in humans. Main advantages and limitations as well as the most relevant findings achieved by each approach in the study of how grape/wine polyphenols can modulate the composition and/or functionality of gut microbiota, are detailed. Also, common findings obtained by the three approaches (in vitro, animal models and human nutritional interventions) such as the fact that the Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes ratio tends to decrease after the feed/intake/consumption of grape/wine polyphenols are highlighted. Additionally, a nematode (Caenorhabditis elegans) model, previously used for investigating the mechanisms of processes such as aging, neurodegeneration, oxidative stress and inflammation, is presented as an emerging approach for the study of polyphenols interacting gut microbiota. © 2020 Society of Chemical Industry
In the work presented herein, we analyze the efficacy of three basic substances that comply with European Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009, namely chitosan, horsetail (Equisetum arvense L.) and nettle (Urtica dioica L.), for the control of grapevine trunk diseases (GTDs) in organic farming. The E. arvense and U. dioica aqueous extracts, prepared according to SANCO/12386/2013 and SANTE/11809/2016, have been studied by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS), identifying their main active constituents. The three basic substances, either alone or in combination (forming conjugate complexes), have been tested in vitro against eight Botryosphaeriaceae species, and in vivo, in grafted plants artificially inoculated with Neofusicoccum parvum and Diplodia seriata. A clear synergistic behavior between chitosan and the two plant extracts has been observed in the mycelial growth inhibition tests (resulting in EC90 values as low as 208 μg·mL−1 for some of the isolates), and statistically significant differences have been found in terms of vascular necroses lengths between treated and non-treated plants, providing further evidence of aforementioned synergism in the case of D. seriata. The reported data supports the possibility of extending the applications of these three basic substances in Viticulture beyond the treatment of mildew.
The use of nanocarriers (NCs), i.e., nanomaterials capable of encapsulating drugs and releasing them selectively, is an emerging field in agriculture. In this study, the synthesis, characterization, and in vitro and in vivo testing of biodegradable NCs loaded with natural bioactive products was investigated for the control of certain phytopathogens responsible for wood degradation. In particular, NCs based on methacrylated lignin and chitosan oligomers, loaded with extracts from Rubia tinctorum, Silybum marianum, Equisetum arvense, and Urtica dioica, were first assayed in vitro against Neofusicoccum parvum, an aggressive fungus that causes cankers and diebacks in numerous woody hosts around the world. The in vitro antimicrobial activity of the most effective treatment was further explored against another fungal pathogen and two bacteria related to trunk diseases: Diplodia seriata, Xylophilus ampelinus, and Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae, respectively. Subsequently, it was evaluated in field conditions, in which it was applied by endotherapy for the control of grapevine trunk diseases. In the in vitro mycelial growth inhibition tests, the NCs loaded with R. tinctorum resulted in EC90 concentrations of 65.8 and 91.0 μg·mL−1 against N. parvum and D. seriata, respectively. Concerning their antibacterial activity, a minimum inhibitory concentration of 37.5 μg·mL−1 was obtained for this treatment against both phytopathogens. Upon application via endotherapy on 20-year-old grapevines with clear esca and Botryosphaeria decay symptoms, no phytotoxicity effects were observed (according to SPAD and chlorophyll fluorescence measurements) and the sugar content of the grape juice was not affected either. Nonetheless, the treatment led to a noticeable decrease in foliar symptoms as well as a higher yield in the treated arms as compared to the control arms (3177 vs. 1932 g/arm), suggestive of high efficacy. Given the advantages in terms of controlled release and antimicrobial product savings, these biodegradable NCs loaded with natural extracts may deserve further research in large-scale field tests.
Silybum marianum (L.) Gaertn, viz. milk thistle, has been the focus of research efforts in the past few years, albeit almost exclusively restricted to the medicinal properties of its fruits (achenes). Given that other milk thistle plant organs and tissues have been scarcely investigated for the presence of bioactive compounds, in this study, we present a phytochemical analysis of the extracts of S. marianum capitula during the flowering phenological stage (stage 67). Gas chromatography–mass spectroscopy results evidenced the presence of high contents of coniferyl alcohol (47.4%), and secondarily of ferulic acid ester, opening a new valorization strategy of this plant based on the former high-added-value component. Moreover, the application of the hydro-methanolic extracts as an antifungal agent has been also explored. Specifically, their activity against three fungal species responsible for the so-called Botryosphaeria dieback of grapevine (Neofusicoccum parvum, Dothiorella viticola and Diplodia seriata) has been assayed both in vitro and in vivo. From the mycelial growth inhibition assays, the best results (EC90 values of 303, 366, and 355 μg·mL−1 for N. parvum, D. viticola, and D. seriata, respectively) were not obtained for the hydroalcoholic extract alone, but after its conjugation with stevioside, which resulted in a strong synergistic behavior. Greenhouse experiments confirmed the efficacy of the conjugated complexes, pointing to the potential of the combination of milk thistle extracts with stevioside as a promising plant protection product in organic Viticulture.
In this work, the chemical composition of Rubia tinctorum root hydromethanolic extract was analyzed by GC–MS, and over 50 constituents were identified. The main phytochemicals were alizarin-related anthraquinones and flavoring phenol compounds. The antifungal activity of this extract, alone and in combination with chitosan oligomers (COS) or with stevioside, was evaluated against the pathogenic taxa Diplodia seriata, Dothiorella viticola and Neofusicoccum parvum, responsible for the so-called Botryosphaeria dieback of grapevine. In vitro mycelial growth inhibition tests showed remarkable activity for the pure extract, with EC50 and EC90 values as low as 66 and 88 μg·mL−1, respectively. Nonetheless, enhanced activity was attained upon the formation of conjugate complexes with COS or with stevioside, with synergy factors of up to 5.4 and 3.3, respectively, resulting in EC50 and EC90 values as low as 22 and 56 μg·mL−1, respectively. The conjugate with the best performance (COS–R. tinctorum extract) was then assayed ex situ on autoclaved grapevine wood against D. seriata, confirming its antifungal behavior on this plant material. Finally, the same conjugate was evaluated in greenhouse assays on grafted grapevine plants artificially inoculated with the three aforementioned fungal species, resulting in a significant reduction in the infection rate in all cases. This natural antifungal compound represents a promising alternative for developing sustainable control methods against grapevine trunk diseases.
The work presented herein deals with the characterization and valorization of a halophyte from the cliffs of the Asturian coast: Limonium binervosum (G.E.Sm.) C.E.Salmon (rock sea-lavender). Its biomass and hydromethanolic extracts were studied by elemental and thermal analysis, infrared spectroscopy and gas chromatography–mass spectroscopy. Tetradecanoic acid/esters and 1,2-tetradecanediol were identified in its flower extract, while the leaf extract was rich in linolenic and linoleic acids and their esters, hexadecanoic acid and its esters, and phytol. Both flower and leaf hydromethanolic extracts contained eicosane, sitosterol and tocopherols in significant amounts. With a view to its valorization, the antimicrobial activity of these extracts was investigated against three apple tree and grapevine phytopathogens. Both the hydroalcoholic extracts and their main constituents, alone or in combination with chitosan oligomers (COS), were tested in vitro. A remarkable antibacterial activity was observed for the conjugated complexes of the flower extract with COS, both against Xylophilus ampelinus (MIC = 250 μg·mL−1) and Erwinia amylovora (MIC = 500 μg·mL−1), and complete inhibition of the mycelial growth of Diplodia seriata was found at concentrations <1000 μg·mL−1. In view of these results, this extremophile plant can be put forward as a promising source of bioactive metabolites.
While the properties of edible pomegranate varieties have been widely explored, there is little information on ornamental types. In this study, possible alternatives for the valorization of dwarf pomegranate fruits have been explored. The characterization of their hydromethanolic extract by gas chromatography−mass spectrometry evidenced the presence of high contents of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (a carbon-neutral feedstock for the production of fuels and other chemicals) and β- and γ-sitosterol stereoisomers. The microbicidal activity of the crude extract, both alone and in a conjugate complex with chitosan oligomers (COS), was investigated against three plant pathogenic microorganisms that cause significant losses in woody crops: Erwinia amylovora, E. vitivora, and Diplodia seriata. In in vitro assays, a strong synergistic behavior was found after conjugation of the bioactive constituents of the fruit extract with COS, resulting in minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) values of 750 and 375 μg·mL−1 against E. amylovora and E. vitivora, respectively, and an EC90 value of 993 μg·mL−1 against D. seriata. Hence, extracts from the non-edible fruits of this Punicaceae may hold promise as a source of high value-added phytochemicals or as environmentally friendly agrochemicals.
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