Phytotoxins and Plant Pathogenesis

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Toxicity of berberine and sanguinarine in different living system.

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Both berberine and sanguinarine are isoquinoline derivatives and both have a positive moiety which interacts with a number of nucleophilic and anionic moieties of many biomolecules that distort their structure and responsible for the altered function of biomolecules 10 , An extensive survey of available literature indicates that phytotoxin induced oxidative stress OS has been considered as a possible mechanism of toxicity and hence it has been a focus of toxicological research these days. However, the exact mechanism s of their actions in plant and animal systems has still not been completely known 15 , Though the existing reports reflected the occurrence of different phytotoxins produced by many plant species and consequences of their exposures in biological systems but still a systematic information on various other aspects such as their chemical nature, impact on metabolic and immune systems as well as perturbations in the redox status in the organisms exposed to such phytochemicals is missing.

The present review article is an endeavour to summarise the recent advances made in the direction of understanding the multifaceted aspects of phytotoxins with special reference to their antioxidative potential and pathogenesis in mammalian systems. Oxidative stress can repress the activity of T cells and thus alter the immune response.

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A decrease in the glutathione-s-transferase GSH pool, which elicits OS by raising the intracellular redox potential, causes a marked inhibition of the T cell proliferative response Several laboratories have reported that oxidative stress inhibits interleukin 2 IL-2 transcription. This cytokine is produced primarily by helper T cells and regulates the growth and function of various cells involved in cellular and humoral immunity.

Moreover, they repress the transcription of a reporter gene driven by the IL-2 gene promoter, whereas, they activate the promoter of the c- jun gene The mitochondrion is a one of the most powerful generators of ROS within the cell. In this organelle, the electron-deficient dioxygen molecule O 2 is brought close to electron suppliers. Indeed, the respiratory chain involves several successive complexes containing electron carriers cytochrome c, ubiquinone, etc. A dysfunction at one step of this chain may thus result in massive production of ROS. In addition, several stimuli, such as tumor necrosis factor TNF a or ceramide have been shown to induce mitochondrial H 2 O 2 release.

Crawford et al. Phytotoxins induced oxidative stress and metabolic consequences: The production of ROS associated with the glycation process was reported to inhibit insulin mRNA production in pancreatic beta cells. The oxidative stress activates stress-induced pathways that damage the beta cells by inducing defective insulin biosynthesis and secretion and ultimately apoptosis.

Phytotoxins produced by plant pathogenic Streptomyces species.

Finally, the oxidative stress might also be involved in the hyperglycaemia-induced insulin resistance , which impacts on beta cell function Assies et al. Phytotoxins induced oxidative stress and impact on endocrine system: Several studies have reported that oxidative stress can alter hormonal regulation. Oxidation by tetrathionate of the glucocorticoid receptor GR resulted in the formation of a disulphide bridge within the protein In addition, the generation of intracellular H 2 O 2 caused hyperoxia and repressed the expression of the tyrosine hydroxylase gene in adrenal-gland-derived cell line Interestingly, several cytochrome P CYP isoforms have been shown to release ROS during their catalytic cycles, especially with uncoupled substrates.

This ROS production could contribute to repress the expression of oxidative- stress-sensitive genes. Phytotoxin induced oxidative stress and their responses: Recently, a large number of plants has been studied for their phytotoxic potential. Among them, foliar extracts of Helianthus annuus L.

It belongs to family Asteraceae and native to North America, the taxa occupy a variety of habitats ranging from open plains to salt marshes. It has various alkaloid, flavonoids, volatile oils and terpenoids 26 , The sunflower also actively influences the growth of surrounding plants 28 - Phytotoxicity of sunflower residues against Sorghum vulgare , Zea mays , Pennisetum americanum and Cyamopsis tetragonoloba has been reported by Batish et al. The autumn crocus Colchicum autumnale is a spring and winter flowering species of plant, belongs to the family Iridaceae and native to Great Britain and Ireland, when they bloom they have large flowers with no leaves, which explains their nickname naked ladies.

It is a poisonous plant and all parts have been found to contain toxins, particularly the bulb which has the biggest concentration of toxin. Side effects of the exposure with its poison can cause anything from skin allergies to death. There are many documented cases of accidental death related to the autumn crocus for example, some people have mistaken it for wild garlic and eaten it. Symptoms of poisoning by this plant may often look like those seen for arsenic poisoning and there is no antidote for it. However, in small amounts, it has been shown to be beneficial to treat gout and rheumatism, as well as leukaemia and is used in medicines for these conditions Table 1 , Fig.

The castor oil plant, Ricinus communis , also known as Palma christi or wonder tree, is a perennial scrub of the spurge family Euphorbiaceae and originated from Africa. Ricinus communis , produces seeds which contain the toxin known as ricin This toxin can be lethal to humans if ingested and the castor oil plant is known as the most lethal plant in the world as little as four or five seeds can provide a lethal dose , although cases involving fatalities are quite rare as the effects take a while to appear.

It is known to interfere translation process in the exposed organisms. A full recovery, however, can often be made with the appropriate treatment. Due to its toxicity, the plant possesses a natural defense against the pests. The ricin is still under investigation to evaluates its potential to be used as an insecticide Table 1 , Fig. Belladonna, or Atropa belladonna , is a member of the Solanaceae family of plants and one of the deadliest plants in the UK. Both, its berries and its leaves are highly toxic, as they contain alkaloids which have anticholinergic properties and they can cause side effects such as hallucinations Fig.


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It has been observed that consumption of berries is enough to kill a child, while can kill a fully-grown adult. As with Aconitum napellus , it has often been used to make poison-tipped arrows for assassination. Aconitum napellus is more commonly known as 'monkshood' or 'wolfsbane'.


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  • It is a perennial plant which grows with hairless stems and rounded, hairless leaves. It contains toxic alkaloid compounds, including a cardiac poison which has been used throughout history to tip weapons to eradicate enemies.

    Host Selective Toxins

    It has an unpleasant taste that means it is rare to be poisoned by accident. Aconite, a chemical produced in the roots of the plant, is used in some Chinese medicines. However, overdose due to misuse of these medicines can lead to damage of nervous system and cardiovascular system and even death in some extreme cases Table 1 , Fig. Tagetes erecta L. It contains phytochemicals including pyrethrins, thiophenes and lutein Often used as a nematicide and an insecticide, the toxin from the Tagetes erecta marigold plant more specifically the marsh marigold causes damage to the nervous system as well as the digestive and respiratory systems in the larvae of many insects.

    This toxin is mainly found in the growing shoots of the plant and can cause irritation and blistering if it comes into contact with the skin.

    However, if the toxin is ingested, it can be very dangerous once digested. This plant has been reported to be used in herbal medicine Table 1 , Fig. Lepidium meyenii or maca is an herbaceous biennial plant of the Brassicaceae family native to the high Andes of Peru. Maca, a root vegetable grown in the Peruvian Andes, has been used as a food and medicine in South America for several hundred years.

    It exhibits the potential to enhance strength and endurance.

    The, In can warriors were known to often consume maca before long journeys and battles. Uncaria tomentosa belongs to family Rubiaceae, is a woody vine native to the Peruvian Amazon widely used in folk medicine for many purposes Table 1 , Fig. Eupatorium adenophorum is a well-known noxious invasive weed belonging to genus and family Eupatorium and Asteraceae, respectively It has been reported that administration of freeze dried E.

    All the animals that received E. The hair coat was found to be rough and the pinnae of the ears and the paws was found to be a yellowish tinge.

    Invasive Species Compendium

    The loss in body weight was also recorded Fig. The urine from the animals in the test group became positive for bilirubin at 24 h and the color reaction increased thereafter. There was a significant decrease in the feed intake of the animals in the test group. All the animals in the test group were moribund when euthanized 48 h after the start of feeding the E. Postmortem examination of the animals in the test group revealed that the subcutaneous tissue and musculature were yellowish. The gastric mucosa was severely congested, with haemorrhages in two animals.

    The intestine showed mild to moderate congestion.