Since historic occasions, St. John’s Wort has been used as a medicinal herb protecting a variety of functions such because the therapy of burns, pores and skin accidents, neuralgia, fibrosis, sciatica and melancholy. Due to its excessive medicinal potential, the plant recognized in technical terminology as Hypericum perforatum even turned “Medicinal Plant of the Year” in 2015. Now, scientists at TU Dresden have proven that there’s way more to the herb than its therapeutic properties.
To this finish, two interdisciplinary teams from biology and inorganic chemistry have joined forces and thus achieved astonishing outcomes.
Originally, the analysis teams led by botanist Prof. Stefan Wanke and chemist Prof. Jan. J. Weigand wished to synthesize graphene-like 2-D buildings from natural products within the joint venture funded by the Sächsische Aufbaubank (SAB; HyperiPhen venture 100315829 in TG70 Bioleben). For this objective, hypericin, a compound of St. John’s Wort, served as a template and beginning materials. In the course of the investigations, it turned out that hypericin effectively catalyzes photochemical reactions. Prof. Weigand then got here up with the thought of utilizing the dried flowers of St. John’s Wort, from which hypericin might be obtained by extraction, as a inexperienced and sustainable different to frequent catalysts.
“The chemistry of natural substances and especially the background of botany were completely new to us. The exciting results that came out of it are all the more gratifying. The interdisciplinary project shows how important it is in science to think outside the ‘box,'” says Prof. Weigand, commenting on the success of the collaboration.
The crew is thus following a present pattern in trendy artificial chemistry to incorporate sustainable points. The seek for sustainable, renewable and environmentally pleasant photoredox catalysts is proving to be extraordinarily difficult. The outcomes now obtained are all of the extra promising. The plant compound hypericin, a secondary metabolite from St. John’s Wort, is used because the energetic compound in chemical reactions with out the necessity for prior chemical processing. The Dresden scientists have efficiently utilized for a German patent for this newly developed technique.
Prof. Wanke is amazed on the success of the collaboration, “Although the research project started with a good idea, bringing it to life was not entirely trivial, as the two working groups first had to “get to know” each other. Our research fields and methods used were far apart. But soon the first unusually exciting results emerged. Everyone involved learned a lot. We would like to continue the research, but the funding is still missing.”
Jun-jie Wang et al, Flowers of the plant genus Hypericum as versatile photoredox catalysts, Green Chemistry (2020). DOI: 10.1039/D0GC03281F
Dresden University of Technology
St. John’s Wort flowers function inexperienced catalyst (2021, February 12)
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