Microbial Ecology

, Volume 52, Issue 1, pp 10–18 | Cite as

Soil Bacteria are Differentially Affected by the Resin of the Medicinal Plant Pseudognaphalium vira vira and Its Main Component Kaurenoic Acid

  • F. Gil
  • R. De la Iglesia
  • L. Mendoza
  • B. González
  • M. WilkensEmail author


The diterpenoid kaurenoic acid is the main component of the resin from the medicinal plant Pseudognaphalium vira vira. As some diterpenoids have antimicrobial properties, the effect of this resin and the kaurenoic acid on soil bacteria was studied. The resin of P. vira vira and purified kaurenoic acid were two to four times more effective as antibacterial agents with Gram-positive than with Gram-negative soil isolates. The chemical stability of kaurenoic acid and the antibacterial activity of both the resin and the diterpenoid were studied in microcosms containing plant-associated soil. After 15 days of incubation, the diterpenoid was stable, as determined by 1H nuclear magnetic resonance and thin-layer chromatography, and soil extracts still exhibited antibacterial activity. However, after 30 days of incubation, loss of antibacterial activity of soil extracts correlated with removal or chemical modification of kaurenoic acid. The effect of the resin or this diterpenoid on the soil bacteria community was analyzed by the terminal restriction fragment length polymorphisms technique. After 15 days of incubation, the resin and the pure compound caused significant changes in the soil bacterial community. The relative abundance of specific bacterial groups was differentially affected by the resin components, being the effects with the resin stronger than with the kaurenoic acid. After 30 days of incubation, these changes mostly reverted. These results indicate that a plant resin containing diterpenoid compounds plays a significant role controlling specific groups of microorganisms in the soil associated with the plant.


Kaurenoic acid soil bacteria diterpenoids Pseudognaphalium vira vira antibacterial activity 



This work was supported by Dirección de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica (DICYT) from the Universidad de Santiago de Chile and by FONDAP-FONDECYT (grant 1501-0001, program 7). R.D.I. is a MECESUP Ph.D. fellow.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Gil
    • 1
  • R. De la Iglesia
    • 2
    • 3
  • L. Mendoza
    • 4
  • B. González
    • 2
    • 3
  • M. Wilkens
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Departamento de Biología, Facultad de Química y BiologíaUniversidad de Santiago de ChileSantiagoChile
  2. 2.Departamento de Genética Molecular y Microbiología, Facultad de Ciencias BiológicasP. Universidad Católica de ChileSantiagoChile
  3. 3.Center for Advanced Studies in Ecology and Biodiversity, Facultad de Ciencias BiológicasP. Universidad Católica de ChileSantiagoChile
  4. 4.Departamento de Química de los Materiales, Facultad de Química y BiologíaUniversidad de Santiago de ChileSantiagoChile

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