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Journal of the Brazilian Chemical Society

Print version ISSN 0103-5053

J. Braz. Chem. Soc. vol.20 no.5 São Paulo  2009 



Neolignans and sesquiterpenes from leaves and embryogenic cultures of Ocotea Catharinensis (Lauraceae)



Mariko FunasakiI; Ana Luísa L. LordelloII; Ana Maria VianaIII; Claudete Santa-CatarinaIV; Eny I. S. FlohIV; Massayoshi YoshidaI,V; Massuo J. KatoI,*

IInstituto de Química, Universidade de São Paulo, CP 26077, 05513-970 São Paulo-SP, Brazil
IIDepartamento de Química, Universidade Federal do Paraná, CP 19081, 81531-990 Curitiba-PR, Brazil
IIIDepartamento de Botânica, Centro de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, 88040-900 Florianópolis-SC, Brazil
IVInstituto de Biociências, Universidade de São Paulo, CP 11461, 05508-900 São Paulo-SP, Brazil
VCentro de Biotecnologia da Amazônia, Av. Gov. Danilo de Matos Areosa, 690, 69075-351 Manaus-AM, Brazil




The extracts from leaves of Ocotea catharinensis Mez (Lauraceae) were found to contain fourteen neolignans and two sesquiterpenes: nine benzofuran types (including three new compounds 1e, 2f and 4b), one new seco-benzofuran type (3b), two bicyclo[3.2.1]octane types (including the new compound 5c), two new dimers of bicyclo[3.2.1]octane type (7a and 7b) and two sesquiterpenes (including a new humulanol 9). In addition, seven neolignans were also showed to occur in somatic embryos of O. catharinensis including one new bicyclo[3.2.1]octane type (4a).

Keywords: Ocotea catharinensis, benzofuran neolignans, bicyclo [3.2.1] octane neolignans, humulane sesquiterpene, somatic embryos


Foram isoladas de extratos de folhas de Ocotea catharinensis Mez (Lauraceae) quatorze neolignanas sendo nove benzofurânicas (incluindo três novas substâncias 1e, 2f e 4b), uma secobenzofurânica inédita (3b), duas biciclo[3.2.1]octânicas (incluindo a nova 5c), dois novos dímeros biciclo[3.2.1]octânicos (7a e 7b) e ainda dois sesquiterpenos (incluindo o novo humulanol 9). Nos embriões somáticos de O. catharinensis foram identificadas sete neolignanas incluindo uma nova neolignana biciclo[3.2.1]octânica (4a).




Ocotea catharinensis (Lauraceae) is a woody plant species found in southern Atlantic forest in Brazil, which produces excellent quality of timber. The extensive logging over the past thirty years associated with difficulties for propagation has led its natural population to be significant decrease. Since O. catharinensis has been included as endangered species, a somatic embryogenic system was developed aiming to a massive propagation.1,2

The Ocotea has been one of the most phytochemically investigated Lauraceous genus and their major secondary compounds were showed to be phenylpropanoidderived including several sub-classes of neolignans.3 Previous phytochemical studies carried out in leaves of O. catharinensis collected at Horto Florestal (Serra da Cantareira), São Paulo State, Brazil, reported the occurrence of benzofuran (1b, 1c, 1d, 2b, 2c, 2d, 2e and 2h) and bicyclo[3.2.1] octane (5a, 5b and 5d) neolignans.4 Representatives of both sub-classes of neolignans have also been previously isolated from barks and woods of a specimen collected in São Paulo State,5,6 and also from wood and leaves of O. porosa ('imbuia') collected in Rio Grande do Sul State, southern Brazil.7-9

This work describes the isolation and characterization of major secondary compounds from leaves collected at Vale do Itajaí, Santa Catarina State, Brazil and from embryogenic cultures developed from the same plant source. The extracts from leaves afforded seven new neolignans 1e, 2f, 3b, 4b, 5c, 7a, 7b, besides seven previously reported ones 1a,6,10 1d,6 2a,6,10,112d,4 2e,6 2g,12 5e.13 Additionally, a new sesquiterpene of humulane type (9), besides known spathulenol (8)4,14 were isolated as well. The embryogenic cultures were shown to contain a new benzofuran neolignan 4a, six already known benzofuran 1c,6,121d,62a,6,10,112b,11,122e,6 and a bicyclo[3.2.1]octane neolignan 6.15


Figure 2


Results and Discussion

The defatted fraction of hexane extracts from O. catharinensis leaves and from O. catharinensis somatic embryos were submitted to flash chromatography followed by prep. TLC and/or circular chromatography (Chromatotron®). This procedure yielded nine new compounds (1e, 2f, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5c, 7a, 7b and 9), besides armenin-B (1a),6,10 1c,6,12 5'-methoxyporosin (1d),6 ferrearin-C (2a),6,10,11 ferrearin-B (2b),11,12 2d,4 ferrearin-E (2e),6 ferrearin-G (2g),12 5e,13615 and spathulenol (8).4,14

The molecular formula of compound 1e was determined by HRESI as C23H30O7. Its 1H NMR spectrum was quite similar to that of armenin-B (1a) (C21H24O6), previously isolated from Licaria armeniaca10 and from O. catharinensis.6 The only difference was assigned to the oxygenation pattern of the aromatic ring, which was determined as 3,4,5-trimethoxyphenyl in 1e instead of 3,4-methylenedioxyphenyl in 1a.

The 1H NMR spectra of 2f (C21H26O6) and of ferrearin-E (2e) (C20H24O5) isolated from O. catharinensis6 were similar. The difference between both compounds consisted of an additional methoxyl group at β-position (C-5', δ 169.3) of 2f.

The molecular formula of compound 3b was determined by HRESI as C22H28O6. All the 1H NMR data was similar to that of a neolignan 3a (C21H26O5) previously isolated from O. porosa.16 Nevertheless, the 1H and 13C NMR spectra indicated that 3b contained a methoxyl group at C-3' (δH 3.58, δC 55.7) which was evidenced by the signal of C-3' at δC 152.8 instead of δC 132.7 in 3a. Its absolute configuration was determined as 8S,1'R, 5'R based on the signal of optical rotation ([α]D 21 = -17º(MeOH, c = 0.92 g/100mL) and comparison with reported data for (-)-megaphone in which X-ray crystallographic studies was carried out.16

The compounds 4a and 4b were characterized as hexahydrobenzofuran neolignans by analysis of their 1H and 13C NMR spectra and comparison with 4c which was previously isolated from O. porosa.9 The aromatic rings were determined as 3,4-methylenedioxyphenyl and 5-methoxy3,4-methylenedioxyphenyl for 4a and 4b, respectively. The relative stereochemistry between methyl and aryl groups was deduced from the anisotropic shielding effect caused by aromatic ring on cis methyl hydrogens as observed in the 1H NMR spectra. The methyl (H-9) signals of 4a (trans) and 4b (cis) were observed at δ 0.84 (d, 6.8 Hz) and 0.57 (d, 7.5 Hz), respectively. The placement of hydroxyl group at C-2' and methoxyl group at C-3' were possible by comparison of 13C NMR data and those described for 4c.9

The molecular formula of compound 5c was determined by HRESI as C21H22O6. Its 1H NMR were similar to that observed for previously reported 5e (C22H24O7) isolated from Aniba simulans,13 but with a 3,4-methylenedioxy for 5c instead of 5-methoxy-3,4-methylenedioxy observed for 5e.

Compounds 7a and 7b had their structures determined by analysis of their IR, MS and NMR spectra. The IR spectra of 7a/7b exhibited absorption bands at 1766 and 1714 cm-1, assignable to two carbonyl groups for each compound. Their 1H and 13C NMR spectra resembled those of 5c/5e, respectively. Nevertheless, the 13C NMR signals associated to the olefinic double bond at C5´-C6´ were replaced by signals of quaternary carbinolic and methine signals at δ 88.4/52.6 (7a) and δ 88.4/52.7 (7b), respectively. The EIMS of 7a/7b showed molecular ion at m/z 370 and 400, but the chemical ionization mass spectrometry (CIMS) provided a molecular ion peak (M + H)+ at m/z 741 and m/z 801, respectively. These molecular ions combined with 1H and 13C NMR (PND and DEPT 135º), suggested a molecular formula C42H44O12 and C44H48O14 compatible with dimeric structures. Thus, the fragmentary ion peaks found at m/z 371 of 7a and 401 of 7b were assigned to the cleavage into monomers indicating that 7a and 7b were symmetric dimers of 5a and 5e. Based on similarities to 5a and 5e all 1H and 13C NMR data were assigned with the aid of 1H-1H COSY and HETCOR spectra (Table 2). In order to determine the relative stereochemistry at the cyclobutane ring, NOESY spectra showed cross-peaks between H-8 and H-7', H-7' and H-6', H-6' and OMe-5'. Thus, among the cyclobutane syn-adducts at C-5' and C-6' four dimers would be expected (Figure 1). Dimers III and IV having cis configuration at the cyclobutane would involve a considerable steric hindrance between the bulky groups of bicyclooctane neolignan, which would prevent such arrangement. For these reason, dimers I and II having trans configuration were considered as the mostly probable structures.



The molecular formula of 9 (C15H26O) was deduced from MS and 13C NMR (PND and DEPT 135º) spectral data. The spectral characteristics of compound 9 were closely related to those of a-humulane17 except for the existence of a hydroxyl group (IR vmax/cm-1: 3425) and two double bonds instead of three. All the 1H and 13C NMR signalswere assigned by 1H-1H COSY and HETCOR techniques and were compatible with the structure depicted for humula-4,8-dien-2-ol (9).

The leaves of O. catharinensis collected in São Paulo and in Santa Catarina were showed to contain both benzofuran and bicyclo[3.2.1]octane type neolignans. The benzofuran neolignan 1d was the major compound in the leaves collected in São Paulo while bicyclo[3.2.1]octane neolignans 5e/5c were predominant in Santa Catarina specimen. The embryogenic cultures also produced both types of neolignans, but 1d was the major compound.




Prep. TLC was carried out on silica gel PF-254 (Merck) and CC on silica gel 60H (0.005-0.045 mm) (Merck). Optical rotations were measured on Jasco Mod. DIP-370. 1H and 13C NMR spectra were registered on a Bruker AC-200 spectrometers using CDCl3 as solvent and TMS as internal standard. EIMS (70 eV) and CIMS (methane) were obtained on a HP 5988-A spectrometer. HRESIMS (positive mode) were recorded on a Bruker Daltonics microTOF. Elemental analysis were performed on a Perkin-Elmer CHN Elemental Analyser 2400. HPLC were performed on Gilson 321 using a reverse phase column (Supelco, C-18, 4.6 × 250 mm, 5 µm).

Plant material

The leaves of the O. catharinensis were collected in Brusque, Santa Catarina State, Brazil in June 1993. The species was collected and identified by Prof. Ademir Reis (Departamento de Botânica, UFSC). The voucher specimen (FLOR-17560) was deposited in the FLOR Herbarium (UFSC).

Initiation and multiplication of embryogenic cultures

Embryogenic cultures were initiated from mature zygotic embryos of O. catharinensis according to described methodology.1,2

The somatic embryos produced at early cotyledonary stage (2-3 mm length) were inoculated in Woody Plant Medium (WPM, Sigma Co., USA) supplemented with 22.7 g L-1 sorbitol, 2 g L-1 Phytagel, 20 g L-1 sucrose and 400 mg L-1 glutamine (pH 5.8) and maintained at 25 ºC and with photon flux of 22 µmol m-2 s-1 provided by fluorescent tubes under 16 h photoperiod.2,18 After four weeks cultivation the somatic embryos at mature stage (> 5 mm) were transferred to Petri dishes (6 cm), spread over two filter papers, and maintained at 25 ºC for 4 days for desiccation.

Extraction and isolation of the constituents from leaves

Dried and powdered leaves (395.0 g) were exhaustively extracted with hexane at room temp. Evaporation of the hexane under a reduced pressure gave a residue, which was partitioned between hexane and MeOH-H2O (9:1). The hydroalcoholic phase was concentrated under reduced pressure yielding 2.4 g. This residue was submitted to flash chromatography column (silica gel, 150 g) and eluted with hexane-EtOAc mixtures at increasing polarities (7:3 to 0:1), yielding 120 fractions (30 mL each). Frs. 29-32 (33.0 mg) submitted to prep. TLC (silica gel, hexane-Et2O, 4:1) gave spathulenol 8 (7.0 mg) and humula-4,8-dien-2-ol 9 (17.0 mg). Frs. 33-41 (76.0 mg) was also fractionated by prep. TLC (silica gel, cyclohexane-Me2CO, 98:2) followed by prep. TLC (silica gel, hexane-CHCl3-iso-PrOH, 94.5:5.0:0.5) and afforded 2d (5.5 mg) and 2a (4.9 mg). Frs. 44-59 (60.0 mg) submitted to prep. TLC (silica gel, cyclohexane-Me2CO, 97:3) followed by prep. TLC (silica gel, CHCl3-EtOAc-iso-PrOH, 94.5:5.0:0.5) gave 2g (3.0 mg) and 6 (6.0 mg). Fr. 60 (24.0 mg) fractionated by prep. TLC (silica gel, cyclohexane-Me2CO, 98:2) yielded 5c (6.0 mg). Frs. 61-65 (440.0 mg) submitted to flash chromatography column (silica gel, CHCl3EtOAc-iso-PrOH, 89:10:1), affording three sub-fractions (S1-S3). Prep. TLC of sub-fraction S1 (70.0 mg) (silica gel, CHCl3-EtOAc-iso-PrOH, 94.5:5.0:0.5) afforded 7a

(17.0 mg) and prep. TLC of sub-fraction S3 (80.0 mg) (silica gel, CHCl3-EtOAc-iso-PrOH, 94.5:5.0:0.5) yielded 5c (30.0 mg). Frs. 66-71 (272.0 mg) fractionated by prep. TLC [silica gel, cyclohexane-Me2CO (97:3)] furnished 2e (6.0 mg). Frs. 77-79 (150.0 mg) submitted to chromatotron (silica gel, hexane-EtOAc-iso-PrOH, 69:30:1), to give two sub-fractions (S4 and S5). Prep. TLC of sub-fraction S4 (14.0 mg) (silica gel, cyclohexane-Me2CO, 95:5) gave 2a (5.0 mg) and 7b (4.0 mg) and prep. TLC of sub-fraction S5 (98.0 mg) (silica gel, cyclohexane-Me2CO, 95:5) gave 5e (70.0 mg). Frs. 80-81 (98.0 mg) submitted to prep. TLC (silica gel, CH2Cl2-Me2CO, 95:5) yielded 4b (12.0 mg). Fr. 82-86 (500.0 mg) submitted to chromatotron (silica gel, hexane-EtOAc-iso-PrOH, 89:10:1) afforded 2e (7.2 mg) and two sub-fractions S6 and S7. Sub-fraction S6 (400.0 mg) was further fractionated by flash chromatography column (silica gel, CH2Cl2-Me2CO, 98:2) yielding 2f (12.0 mg) and 3b (9.0 mg). Sub-fraction S7 (43.0 mg) was submitted to chromatotron (silica gel, CH2Cl2-Me2CO, 95:5) to give 1a (24.0 mg). Frs. 105-110 (87.0 mg) was submitted to chromatotron (silica gel, CH2Cl2-Me2CO, 96:4) yielding 1d and 1e (5.5 mg) as a mixture.

Extraction and isolation of the constituents from somatic embryos

The desiccated somatic embryos (400.0 g) were frozen in Me2CO with dry ice, ground and extracted with 500 mL MeOH-H2O (4:1). The hydroalcoholic extracts was concentrated and successively partitioned with hexane and CHCl3 (3 × 200 mL, each). The CHCl3 residue (360.0 mg) was submitted to flash chromatography column (silica gel, 150 g) and eluted with CH2Cl2-Me2O at increasing polarity (1:1 to 0:1), affording 160 fractions (20 mL each). Fr. 1 (18.0 mg) submitted to prep. TLC (cyclohexane-Me2CO, 95:5) yielded 2a (5.0 mg) and 6 (5.0 mg). Frs. 2-12 (7.0 mg) submitted to prep. TLC (cyclohexane-Me2CO, 95:5) gave 2a (1.0 mg) and 2e (2.0 mg). Frs. 13-21 (20.5 mg) submitted to prep. TLC (cyclohexane-Me2CO, 95:5) gave 2b (3.0 mg), 2a (4.0 mg) and 1c (3.0 mg). Frs. 22-54 (43.0 mg) purified by prep. TLC (CH2Cl2-Me2O, 9:1) yielded 4a (3.0 mg) and 6 (4.0 mg). Frs. 145-158 (29.0 mg) fractionated by prep. TLC (CHCl3-MeOH, 9:1) yielded 1d (7.0 mg).

(7S,8S,1'R,3'R)-3,4,5,3',5'-Pentamethoxy-4'-oxo-Δ1,3,5,5',8'8.1',7.O.6'-neolignan (1e)

Viscous oil; IR (film) vmax/cm-1: 3469, 2925, 1707, 1695, 1500, 1446, 1371, 1218, 1087, 1033, 925, 816, 772; 1H and 13C NMR, see Table 1; HRESIMS m/z: 419.2090 [M+H]+ (calcd for C23H31O7, 419.2071); EIMS (70 eV) m/z (rel. int.): 418(M+, 34), 388(19), 377(100), 349(87), 317(29), 285(13), 208(44), 181(22), 91(13).

rel(7R,8S,1'R,2'S)-2'-Hydroxy-3,4,5'-trimethoxy-3'-oxoΔ 1,3,5,4',8'-8.1',7.O.2'-neolignan (2f)

Viscous oil; [α]D 21 = - 130º(MeOH, c = 0.20 g/100mL); IR (film) vmax/cm-1: 3435, 2936, 2849, 1739, 1664, 1588, 1511, 1457, 1251, 1142, 1012, 762; 1H and 13C NMR, see Table 1; EIMS (70 eV) m/z (rel. int.): 374(M+, 7), 194(17), 167(100), 166(66), 165(76), 139(56), 95(17), 77(21), 69(18).

rel (8S, 1'R, 5'R)-3,4,3',5'-Tetramethoxy-7,2'-dioxoΔ1,3,5,3',8'-8.1'-neolignan (3b)

Viscous oil; [α]D 21 = - 17º(MeOH, c = 0.92 g/100mL); IR (film) vmax/cm-1: 2957, 2914, 2860, 2348, 1739, 1620, 1511, 1457, 1371, 1263, 1229, 1144, 1023, 766; 1H and 13C NMR, see Table 1; HRESIMS m/z: 389.1983 [M+H]+ (calcd for C22H29O6, 389.1966); EIMS (70 eV) m/z (rel. int.): 388(M+, 4), 352(30), 339(23), 324(10), 316(3), 165(100), 137(6).

rel(7S,8S,1'R,2'S)-2'-Hydroxy-3,4-methylenedioxy-3',5'dimethoxy-Δ1,3,5,3',8'-8.1',7.O.2'-neolignan (4a)

Viscous oil; 1H NMR see Table 1.

rel(7R,8S,1'R,2'S)-2'-Hydroxy-3,4-methylenedioxy5,3',5'-trimethoxy-Δ1,3,5,3',8'-8.1',7.O.2'-neolignan (4b)

Viscous oil; 1H and 13C NMR, see Table 1.

rel(7S,8R,1'R,3'R)-4'-Hydroxy-3,4-methylenedioxy-3',5'dimethoxy-2',4'-dioxo-Δ1,3,5,5',8'-8.1',7.3'-neolignan (5c)

Viscous oil; [α]D 21 = -18º(MeOH, c = 3.75 g/100mL); IR (film) vmax/cm-1: 1765, 1698, 1504, 1491, 1247, 1094, 1039. 1H and 13C NMR, see Table 2; HRESIMS m/z: 371.1496 [M+H]+ (calcd for C21H23O6, 371.1496); EIMS (70 eV) m/z (rel. int.): 370 (M+, 22), 329(80), 287(12), 269(9), 208(100), 149(82), 137(73), 77(31).

(7S,8R,1'R,3'R)-4'-Hydroxy-3,4-methylenedioxy-3',5',5trimethoxy-2',4'-dioxo-Δ1,3,5,5',8'-8.1',7.3'-neolignan (5e)

Viscous oil; [α]D 21 = - 29º(MeOH, c = 4.48 g/100mL); 1H and 13C NMR, see Table 2; EIMS (70 eV) m/z (rel. int.): 400 (M+, 52), 359(21), 331(10), 288(14), 219(100), 208(45), 207(43), 193(18), 192(66), 180(53), 165(34), 137(23), 91(14), 77(16).

7a (Dimer of 5c)

Viscous oil; [α]D 21 = + 220º(MeOH, c = 0.07 g/100mL); IR (film) vmax/cm-1: 2922, 1766, 1714, 1513, 1453, 1137, 1094,1044; 1H and 13C NMR, see Table 2; CIMS m/z (rel. int.): 741(M+, 1), 579(1), 419(15), 391(91), 371(100), 341(18), 209(28), 163(37), 57(27).

7b (Dimer of 5e)

Viscous oil; [α]D 21 = + 57º(MeOH, c = 0.62 g/100mL); IR (film) vmax/cm-1: 1767, 1714, 1505, 1491, 1445, 1240, 1039; 1H and 13C NMR, see Table 2; CIMS m/z (rel. int.): 801(M+, 1), 609(18), 429(76), 419(85), 401(100), 371(11), 209(17), 193(11).

rel(8R)-Humulan-1,4-dien-8-ol (9)

Solid amorphous. Found: C, 80.89 %, H, 11.65% (C15H26O requires: C, 81.02%, H, 11.79%); IR (film) vmax/cm-1: 3425, 2946, 1707, 1446, 1371, 1022, 762; 1H and 13C NMR, see Table 3; EIMS (70 eV) m/z (rel. int.): 344(M+, 27), 303(9), 271(12), 189(100), 179(26), 178(76), 166(25), 165(66), 151(59), 137(19), 115(15), 107(27), 91(35), 77(33).




The authors acknowledge FAPESP, CNPq, CAPES and International Foundation for Science (Sweden) for financial support.


Supplementary Information

Supplementary information is available free of charge at, as PDF file.



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Received: October 1, 2008
Web Release Date: March 20, 2009
FAPESP helped in meeting the publication costs of this article.



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Supplementary Information


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