The phytoalexins from cultivated and wild crucifers: Chemistry and biology

M. Soledade C. Pedras, Estifanos E. Yaya, Erich Glawischnig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

185 Scopus citations


Phytoalexins are antimicrobial secondary metabolites produced de novo by plants in response to stress, including microbial attack. In general, phytoalexins are important components of plant defenses against fungal and bacterial pathogens. The phytoalexins of crucifers are indole alkaloids derived from (S)-tryptophan, most of which contain a sulfur atom derived from cysteine. Beside their antimicrobial activity against different plant pathogenic species, cruciferous phytoalexins have shown anticarcinogenic effects on various human cell lines. This review focuses on the phytoalexins produced by cruciferous plants reported to date, with particular emphasis on their chemical synthesis, biosynthesis, metabolism by plant fungal pathogens and biological activities. A summary table containing all phytoalexins, their cultivated and wild cruciferous sources, their synthetic starting materials, biotransformation products and biological activities is provided.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1381-1405
Number of pages25
JournalNatural Product Reports
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2011


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