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Synthesis of novel Myrtucommulone and Analogues

Organization name

PVA Saarland



The myrtle (Myrtus communis) is an evergreen shrub of the Mediterranean region with aromatic fragrant, small, leathery leaves, small white flowers and blue-black berries. The Mediterranean cuisine uses leaves and berries occasionally as a spice. Since antiquity, rich in essential oils myrtle is also known as a medicinal plant. The pharmacological research is particularly interested in a group of substances of myrtle, known as myrtucommulone. The myrtucommulone A acts, among others, anti-bacterial (gram-positive bacteria), analgesic and anti-inflammatory. The extraction of the myrtucommulone from the myrtle leaves is however very laborious and results in only low yields.


Scientists from the University of the Saarland have managed to carry out a total synthesis of myrtucommulone. Starting from commercially available or known compounds the team synthesized myrtucommulone A, its natural variants C and F as well as an analogue in a one-step reaction. Using spectroscopic studies and X-ray crystallography the structure was confirmed. Laboratory tests certified the strong anti-inflammatory effects of the artificial myrtucommulone equal as the natural compound. As well as the active ingredient from the plant extract, the synthetic compound triggers programmed cell death (apoptosis) of tumor cells.

Development Stage

  • Proof of mechanism – prototype
  • Proven effect (cell death)


  • Synthesized compound
  • One-step synthesis, simple purification, good yield
  • Inexpensive production process
  • Novel homologues of myrtucommulone A available

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