, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 73–83 | Cite as

Ecologically neglected tannins and their biologically relevant activity: chemical structures of plant ellagitannins reveal their in vitro oxidative activity at high pH

  • Johanna Moilanen
  • Juha-Pekka Salminen


Chemical structures of 27 ellagitannins were systemically compared in respect of their in vitro oxidative activity at high pH found e.g. in lepidopteran insects. The analysis revealed over six-fold differences in the oxidative activities of individual ellagitannins which could be explained by the chemical divergences of the ellagitannins. These findings allowed the formulation of a simple equation that can be used to estimate the oxidative activities of other ellagitannins with known structures. The results suggest that, in future studies of plant-herbivore interactions, ellagitannins should be (1) taken into account as possible oxidative stress -based defences of plants against herbivores, (2) chemically characterized from the study plants, and (3) quantified individually, not as chemically ill-defined group. These actions together with the utilization of the created equation would allow the clarification of the role of ellagitannins in plant-herbivore interactions as natural pro-oxidants.


Ellagitannins oxidative activity chemical structures herbivores plants 


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Copyright information

© Birkhaeuser 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Organic Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Department of ChemistryUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland

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