Thursday, 27 October 2022

A review on biogenic green synthesis of ZnO nanoparticles by plant biomass and their applications

 Materials Today, 33, 2022, 104747

Nanobiotechnology has recently gained prominence as a fundamental branch of modern science and a novel epoch in the field of material researches. Due to a wide range of applications it attracts attention of many scientists from all over the world. Bionanomaterials are prepared using a variety of physical, chemical, and biological techniques and methods. Many different metal and metal oxide nanoparticles are reported to be produced by biological systems, including bacteria, fungi, actinomycetes, yeasts, viruses, and plants. Among all of them, biocompatible zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO NPs), obtained through biosynthesis with the aid of plant-derived materials, appears to be a highly successful way to create a fast, clean, non-toxic, and environmentally friendly platform for the production and application of these bionanomaterials. This review focuses on the plant extract-derived ZnO NPs synthesis, with a special emphasis on the recent advances and applications of these nanomaterials.

Sunday, 23 October 2022

The International Natural Product Sciences Taskforce (INPST) and the power of Twitter networking exemplified through #INPST hashtag analysis

Phytomedicine, 108, 154520, 2023

The development of digital technologies and the evolution of open innovation approaches have enabled the creation of diverse virtual organizations and enterprises coordinating their activities primarily online. The open innovation platform titled “International Natural Product Sciences Taskforce” (INPST) was established in 2018, to bring together in collaborative environment individuals and organizations interested in natural product scientific research, and to empower their interactions by using digital communication tools.

In this work, we present a general overview of INPST activities and showcase the specific use of Twitter as a powerful networking tool that was used to host a one-week “2021 INPST Twitter Networking Event” (spanning from 31st May 2021 to 6th June 2021) based on the application of the Twitter hashtag #INPST.

Results and Conclusion
The use of this hashtag during the networking event period was analyzed with Symplur Signals (, revealing a total of 6,036 tweets, shared by 686 users, which generated a total of 65,004,773 impressions (views of the respective tweets). This networking event's achieved high visibility and participation rate showcases a convincing example of how this social media platform can be used as a highly effective tool to host virtual Twitter-based international biomedical research events.

Saturday, 22 October 2022

Special Issue "Cyclodextrins: Structure, Properties and Applications"


Cyclodextrins (CD) are cyclic oligomers of α-d-glucopyranose that are obtained through biotechnological processes through bacterial action on starch. What was initially considered a scientific curiosity (its ability to form inclusion complexes with a great diversity of molecules) ended up being shown as the cause of its technological applicability. This means that in the last four decades there has been a progressive increase in scientific publications, review articles and patents directly related to CDs (synthesis, structure, properties, formation of host:guest complexes and applications).
In this Special Issue of Compounds, we intend to compile original scientific articles, communications and bibliographic reviews that deal precisely with cyclodextrins (both as regards their structure, their properties, and their applications).

Sunday, 16 October 2022

Comparison of Chromatic and Spectrophotometric Properties of White and Red Wines Produced in Galicia (Northwest Spain) by Applying PCA

Molecules 2022, 27(20), 7000

Wine is a complex matrix composed of numerous substances and color has an important influence on its quality and consumer acceptance. Color is affected by numerous factors such as pre-fermentation and fermentation operations, ageing, contact or addition of certain substances. In this study, different chromatic parameters were determined in 99 wines (58 red and 41 white) made from Galician (Northwest Spain) grape varieties. These parameters were obtained by using simple, rapid, and inexpensive spectrophotometric methodologies: color intensity, hue, total polyphenols content (Total Polyphenol Index TPI, Folin–Ciocalteu index, FCI), total anthocyans, total tannins, and color coordinates measured by the CIELab system. The influence of ageing in barrels (red wines) or using chips (white and red wines) on these parameters was also studied. A principal component analysis (PCA) was carried out to characterize the wines according to their chromatic characteristics. Application of PCA to the experimental data resulted in satisfactory classifications of studied white and red wines according to the cited enological practices.

Tuesday, 11 October 2022

Advances in Fungal Phenaloenones—Natural Metabolites with Great Promise: Biosynthesis, Bioactivities, and an In Silico Evaluation of Their Potential as Human Glucose Transporter 1 Inhibitors

Molecules 2022, 27(20), 6797

Phenaloenones are structurally unique aromatic polyketides that have been reported in both microbial and plant sources. They possess a hydroxy perinaphthenone three-fused-ring system and exhibit diverse bioactivities, such as cytotoxic, antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-HIV properties, and tyrosinase, α-glucosidase, lipase, AchE (acetylcholinesterase), indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1, angiotensin-I-converting enzyme, and tyrosine phosphatase inhibition. Moreover, they have a rich nucleophilic nucleus that has inspired many chemists and biologists to synthesize more of these related derivatives. The current review provides an overview of the reported phenalenones with a fungal origin, including their structures, sources, biosynthesis, and bioactivities. Moreover, more than 135 metabolites have been listed, and 71 references have been cited. SuperPred, an artificial intelligence (AI) webserver, was used to predict the potential targets for selected phenalenones. Among these targets, we chose human glucose transporter 1 (hGLUT1) for an extensive in silico study, as it shows high probability and model accuracy. Among them, aspergillussanones C (60) and G (60) possessed the highest negative docking scores of −15.082 and −14.829 kcal/mol, respectively, compared to the native inhibitor of 5RE (score: −11.206 kcal/mol). The MD (molecular dynamics) simulation revealed their stability in complexes with GLUT1 at 100 ns. The virtual screening study results open up a new therapeutic approach by using some phenalenones as hGLUT1 inhibitors, which might be a potential target for cancer therapy.

Saturday, 8 October 2022

Royal Jelly: Beneficial Properties and Synergistic Effects with Chemotherapeutic Drugs with Particular Emphasis in Anticancer Strategies

 Nutrients 2022, 14(19), 4166

Cancer is one of the major causes of death globally. Currently, various methods are used to treat cancer, including radiotherapy, surgery, and chemotherapy, all of which have serious adverse effects. A healthy lifestyle, especially a nutritional diet, plays a critical role in the treatment and prevention of many disorders, including cancer. The above notion, plus the trend in going back to nature, encourages consumers and the food industry to invest more in food products and to find potential candidates that can maintain human health. One of these agents, and a very notable food agent, is royal jelly (RJ), known to be produced by the hypopharyngeal and mandibular salivary glands of young nurse honeybees. RJ contains bioactive substances, such as carbohydrates, protein, lipids, peptides, mineral salts and polyphenols which contribute to the appreciated biological and pharmacological activities. Antioxidant, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, and antibacterial impacts are among the well-recognized benefits. The combination of RJ or its constituents with anticancer drugs has synergistic effects on cancer disorders, enhancing the drug’s effectiveness or reducing its side effects. The purpose of the present review is to emphasize the possible interactions between chemotherapy and RJ, or its components, in treating cancer illnesses.

Friday, 7 October 2022

The Chemical, Microbiological and Volatile Composition of Kefir-like Beverages Produced from Red Table Grape Juice in Repeated 24-h Fed-Batch Subcultures

 Foods 2022, 11(19), 3117

The aim of this work was to study the production of kefir-like beverages via the fed-batch fermentation of red table grape juice at initial pHs of 3.99 (fermentation A) and 5.99 (fermentation B) with kefir grains during 4 repeated 24-h fed-batch subcultures. All kefir-like beverages (KLB) were characterized by low alcoholic grade (≤3.6%, v/v) and lactic and acetic acid concentrations. The beverages obtained from fermentation B had lower concentrations of sugars and higher microbial counts than the KLB obtained in fermentation A. Additionally, the KLB samples from fermentation B were the most aromatic and had the highest contents of alcohols, esters, aldehydes and organic acids, in contrast with the nonfermented juice and KLB from fermentation A. These results indicate the possibility of obtaining red table grape KLB with their own distinctive aromatic characteristics and high content in probiotic viable cells, contributing to the valorization of this fruit.

Saturday, 1 October 2022

From Tradition to Health: Chemical and Bioactive Characterization of Five Traditional Plants

Molecules 2022, 27(19), 6495

Several scientific studies have been proving the bioactive effects of many aromatic and medicinal plants associated with the presence of a high number of bioactive compounds, namely phenolic compounds. The antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial capacities of these molecules have aroused high interest in some industrial sectors, including food, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics. This work aimed to determine the phenolic profiles of the infusions and hydroethanolic extracts of five plants (Carpobrotus edulis, Genista tridentata, Verbascum sinuatum, Cytisus multiflorus, and Calluna vulgaris) that have been employed in many traditional preparations. In addition, the antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumoral activity of each different preparation was evaluated using in vitro assays. The HPLC-DAD-ESI/MS profile revealed the presence of eighty phenolic compounds, belonging to seven different families of compounds. Regarding antioxidant properties, the hydroethanolic extract of C. edulis showed a potent effect in the TBARS assay (IC50 = 1.20 µg/mL), while G. tridentata hydroethanolic extract achieved better results in the OxHLIA test (IC50 = 76 µg/mL). For cytotoxic and anti-inflammatory results, V. sinuatum infusions stood out significantly, with GI50 = 59.1–92.1 µg/mL and IC50 = 121.1 µg/mL, respectively. Finally, C. edulis hydroethanolic extract displayed the most relevant antibacterial activity, showing MBC values of 0.25–1 mg/mL, while G. tridentata hydroethanolic extract exerted the greatest antifungal effects (MFC of 0.5–1 mg/mL). The results of this study deepen the knowledge of the phenolic profiles and also provide evidence on the bioactive properties of the species selected, which could be considered highly valuable options for research and application in several sectors, namely food, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals.