Derris elliptica (Wall.) Benth species and valuable biological substances

With the aim of contributing to clarifying the chemical composition and evaluating the biological activity value of compounds isolated from Derris elliptica species, which serves as an important basis for the development of products from popular raw materials in the country. I, Dr. Bui Thi Thu Trang and the research team of the Institute of Marine Biochemistry under the guidance of Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Xuan Nhiem conducted the project: "Study on the chemical composition and biological activity of the bile vine (Derris elliptica (Wall.) Benth)", (code: GUST.STS.ĐT2020-HH12).

The goal of the research team was to identify some key chemical components of Derris elliptica species, and at the same time, evaluate the test antimicrobial activity and inhibitory activity of NO production on RAW264.7 cells of these plants.

The species Derris elliptica (Wall.) Benth in our country is called with a number of names such as bile, fish medicine. This species is distributed mainly in the South of our country and is relatively easy to grow. People often use the roots of this species in fishing or removing trash fish species in ponds or shrimp ponds. Besides, this species is also used to kill insects that destroy plants, kill insects for animals. According to published studies, the roots of this species contain rotenoid compounds, typically rotenone, which are active substances with anti-insect effects. These results explain the use of root powder or rotenone-rich extract of Derris elliptica as a bio pesticide to repel insects and protect crops.


Figure 1. Derris elliptica

Currently, D. elliptica species is grown quite popularly in some southern provinces of our country for rooting. In addition to rotenone, species in the genus Derris contain many other rotenoid compounds, such as prenylated flavonoids. These forms of compounds are all substances with high potential for biological activity in addition to insecticidal effects. Up to now, studies have shown that the main biological activities of Derris genus are as follows: insecticide in agriculture, fishing medicine, anti-cancer, cytotoxic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic.

Figure 2. Rotenone and some preparations have been used

As a result, the team isolated 20 compounds from the stem of D. Elliptica. 17 out of 20 isolated compounds have been chemically determined, of which 7 are new compounds that have been published for the first time. The antimicrobial activity of 17 structurally determined compounds was evaluated on 07 test microorganisms including 3 strains of Gram (–), 3 strains of Gram (+) and 1 strain of Yeast. The results showed that 13 compounds showed good antifungal activity, some compounds showed selective effect on one or a few strains of microorganisms tested. Evaluating the anti-inflammatory activity of structurally determined compounds based on their ability to inhibit NO production in RAW264.7 cells, the results showed that three new rotenoid compounds showed good activity.

From this result, the team wishes to continue to expand further studies, apply research from D. elliptica species towards antifungal and/or antibacterial and further research on other biological activities. Such as anti-insect, cytotoxic activity against 3 new structural rotenoid compounds.

The topic was approved by the Institute level Acceptance Council led by Prof. Dr. Vu Dinh Lam,  Director of Academy of Science and Technology, as Chairman of the Check and Acceptance Board, on September 27, 2022, highly appreciated and recognized the successful results obtained, with 02 international articles on SCIE directory, 01 article published in Scopus magazine, supported training 2 engineers, and rated as excellent.

Translated by Quoc Khanh
Link to Vietnamese version

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