|Abstract or Summary
- Achlys triphylla, a member of a medicinally active family
containing alkaloids, was examined phytochemically to determine its
possible value as a source of medicinal agents.
Pharmacological testing of the crude ethanol extract exhibited
a competitive inhibition of acetylcholine and histamine. Purification
of alkaloid 'A' from the crude ethanol extract and subsequent pharmacological
testing showed a lack of any biological activity.
The alkaloid responded to typical alkaloid reagents and was
isolated by means of alumina column chromatography. Preliminary
data indicated that the alkaloid's identity was magnoflorine, a quaternary
alkaloid commonly occurring in the plants of this family.
However, its IR spectrum was different from that of magnoflorine
and it could be precipitated from its acidic solution by ammonium
hydroxide. Similarly, its iodide salt could not be prepared by the method commonly used for preparing the derivative for quaternary
bases. The data suggested the alkaloid may be the tertiary analog
of magnoflorine, namely, corytuberine. Co-chromatography and the
UV spectrum of alkaloid 'A' and authentic corytuberine showed that
the two compounds were not identical. The empirical formula
C₁₈H₁₉O₄N was determined for alkaloid 'A' (melting point 243-5°C.
decomp.) from elemental analysis and available spectral data.
The presence of the simple quaternary base, choline, in the
ethanol extract was noted by a characteristic purple coloration with
Dragendorff's reagent. This simple base was not isolated, but its
identity was established by means of extensive co-spotting experiments.
Four different TLC developing systems (three acidic and
one alkaline) and four different visualizing reagents were used to
identify the choline spots.
A carbohydrate was isolated from the ethanol extract. Its
identity was concluded to be sucrose from its melting point, its
behavior on acidic and enzymatic hydrolysis, and the melting points
of its osazone and octa-acetate derivatives.
The commonly occurring phytosterol, β-sitosterol, was isolated
from the roots and rhizomes. Melting point, mixed melting
point, IR spectra, and co-chromatography in three solvent systems
confirmed its identity.