Journal of Applied Botany and Food Quality (Sep 2019)

Plant-derived sulfur containing natural products produced as a response to biotic and abiotic stresses: A review of their structural diversity and medicinal importance

  • Muna Ali Abdalla,
  • Karl H. Mühling

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 92


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Plant-derived sulfur-containing secondary metabolites constitute a small group of low-molecular weight natural products, which play a vital role in plant-pest interactions in numerous plant families andrepresent major defense molecules in the Asteraceae, Alliaceae, and Brassicaceae families. In this review we highlight the crucial role of environmental stress factors in the production of S-containing secondary metabolites. Furthermore, we describe a serendipitous variety of plant-derived sulfur-containing natural products produced or induced under biotic and abiotic stress and their structural diversity, promising pharmacological properties for use by humans, and beneficial effects for plants. Specifically, cruciferous phytoalexins are known as elicit plant defense molecules. Glucosinolates are candidates for tumorpreventive effects. Cysteine sulfoxides found in garlic are considered as profound antimicrobial agents. In this review, we discuss types of S bonds in the molecules and their relevance for the medicinal effect as well as the biological activities of sulfur-containing secondary metabolites and possible future avenues.