Planta Med 2009; 75(1): 76-79
DOI: 10.1055/s-0028-1088344
Natural Products Chemistry
Original Paper
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Antimicrobially Active Isoquinoline Alkaloids from Litsea cubeba

Tao Feng1 , 2 , Yan Xu3 , Xiang-Hai Cai1 , Zhi-Zhi Du1 , Xiao-Dong Luo1
  • 1State Key Laboratory of Phytochemistry and Plant Resources in West China, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, P.R. China
  • 2Graduate School of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, P.R. China
  • 3College of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Yangzhou University, Yangzhou, P.R. China
Further Information

Publication History

Received: June 22, 2008 Revised: July 3, 2008

Accepted: September 24, 2008

Publication Date:
07 November 2008 (online)


Bioassay-guided fractionation of the alkaloidal extract of the aerial part of Litsea cubeba led to the isolation of two new isoquinoline alkaloids, (+)-N-(methoxycarbonyl)-N-norboldine (1) and (+)-isoboldine β-N-oxide (2), together with 11 known analogues (3 – 13). Their structures were established by extensive spectroscopic techniques and by comparing spectroscopic data with those in the literature. Compounds 1 and 4 showed antimicrobial activities. This is the first report on the presence of compounds 1, 2, 6, 8, 9, 11, and 12 in this plant and on the antimicrobial activities of 1 and 4. The bioactivities of isoquinoline alkaloids are also at least partly responsible for the pharmacological function of the folk medicinal plant Litsea cubeba.


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Prof. Dr. Xiao-Dong Luo

Kunming Institute of Botany

Chinese Academy of Sciences

134 LanHei Road


People’s Republic of China

Phone: +86-871-522-3177

Fax: +86-871-515-0227