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Chemical ecology of canarian laurel forest: toxic diterpenes from Persea indica (Lauraceae)

AutorGonzález-Coloma, Azucena ; Hernández, Melchor G.; Perales, Áurea; Fraga, Braulio M.
Palabras clavePersea indica
X-ray analysis
Rattus rattus
Mice feeding trials
Fecha de publicación1990
CitaciónJournal of Chemical Ecology 16(9): pp. 2723-2733 (1990)
ResumenThe tree species P. indica (Lauraceae) is an important endemism in the Canary Islands laurel forest and can readily be distinguished by its defoliated appearance due to the seasonal action of wild rats (Rattus rattus), which eat the plant and become intoxicated. These observations and the phytochemical interest of this plant species led us to study the potentially toxic chemicals responsible for such action. We found that an ethanolic extract of P. indica and its water fraction were toxic when injected into laboratory mice. The mice also died after ingestion of the stems and showed a significant preference for those extracted and rehydrated with an 8% aqueos extract solution when compared with the water control. Two compounds that have beer isolated from the toxic fraction and identified by sprectoscopic methods are the plyhydroxy pentacyclic diterpenes ryanodol and cinnceylanol. Possible ecological implications are discussed.
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