Is there a secondary/specialized metabolism in the genus Cuscuta and which is the role of the host plant?

  • Isvett Josefina Flores-Sánchez
  • Ariadna Garza-OrtizEmail author


The parasitic plants from the genus Cuscuta have been studied from different perspectives, such as their phytochemistry, pharmacology, taxonomy, as weeds, and as a model plant for plant-plant interactions. This review attempts to discuss the host plants’ influence on the phytochemistry and pharmacology of parasitic plants like Cuscuta from the evidence that has been published until recent years in specialized literature and which has not been addressed in detail. Also, the relationship between haustorium development from the parasitic plant and its attachment to the host plant vascular system is discussed and related to the phytochemical and pharmacological information available. In addition, the genus Cuscuta’s main applications description in patents is also explored. Finally, some important recommendations are suggested for further studies in Cuscuta or any other parasitic plant. This state-of-the art about the genus Cuscuta can be a valuable source of organized information for those researchers developing projects in a great variety of aspects related to this genus.


Cuscuta Parasitic plants Host plant Patents Phytochemistry Secondary/specialized metabolism 



Abscisic acid


ATP-binding cassette


Chrysanthemum stunt viroid


Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry


Green fluorescent protein


Horizontal gene transfer




High-performance liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry


Hop stunt viroid


Nucleophilic attack six-bladed β-propeller


Phosphinothricin acetyl transferase


Peach rosette phytoplasma


Potato virus Y strain N


Strictosidine synthase-like



AGO is grateful for the support received via the 2017 NPTC-SEP call for the development of this work. AGO and IJFS want to express their gratitude for the contribution made by Prof. Rafael Ibarra-Contreras from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México for the language revision.

Supplementary material

11101_2019_9649_MOESM1_ESM.pptx (3.1 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (PPTX 3130 kb)


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Facultad de Ciencias Químico-BiológicasUniversidad Autónoma de CampecheCampecheMexico

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