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Deciphering the biological consequences of geometrical isomerization of natural compounds.

Plants produce myriad of compounds with various biological properties. The structural configuration of plant metabolites has been directly correlated to its biological activity. Geometrical isomers are naturally occurring molecules with subtle structural differences such as those caused by stereochemistry or chemical bond orientation. Lately, excessive sunlight exposure due to ozone depletion associated with global warming and/or climatic change has been shown to affect the chemistry (metabolite composition) of several plants. Amongst the newly emerging compounds are geometrical isomers of cinnamic acid containing molecules. LC-MS based metabolomic approaches has revealed several geometrical isomers to be associated with UV-light exposure of plant extracts. In the current study, plant extracts will be exposed to UV-light of different intensities. These extracts will be analysed with the aid of LC-MS and multivariate statistical modelling of this data will be carried out to unearth the effect of the UV-light on the chemistry of plant derived metabolites. Furthermore, the same extracts will be evaluated for their biological activities to establish the pharmacological relevance of these newly formed compounds. The current study is expected to showcase the photo-catalytic properties of UV-light as a feasible approach to generate photo-switchable drugs with enhanced pharmacological activities.


Fellows involved in this project

Iso Lomso Fellow
South Africa

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Journal Article

Moyo, Babra, Yolanda Novokoza, Nikita Tawanda Tavengwa, Nikolai Kuhnert, Kevin Lobb, Ntakadzeni Edwin Madala. 2023. Rationalising the retro‐Diels‐Alder fragmentation pattern of viscutins using electrospray interface‐tandem mass spectrometry coupled to theoretical modelling. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 37(15).

Journal Article

Mbedzi, Dakalo Terrence, Lutendo Michael Mathomu, Msizi Innocent Mhlongo and Ntakadzeni Edwin Madala. 2022. Ultraviolet (UV) light-induced geometrical isomerization of cinnamic acid containing molecules: A plausible, non-enzymatic approach to modify metabolite composition of plant extracts. South African Journal of Botany, 150, 845–850.

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