Biological activity of peanut (Arachis hypogaea) phytoalexins and selected natural and synthetic Stilbenoids

J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Mar 9;59(5):1673-82. doi: 10.1021/jf104742n. Epub 2011 Feb 11.


The peanut plant (Arachis hypogaea L.), when infected by a microbial pathogen, is capable of producing stilbene-derived compounds that are considered antifungal phytoalexins. In addition, the potential health benefits of other stilbenoids from peanuts, including resveratrol and pterostilbene, have been acknowledged by several investigators. Despite considerable progress in peanut research, relatively little is known about the biological activity of the stilbenoid phytoalexins. This study investigated the activities of some of these compounds in a broad spectrum of biological assays. Since peanut stilbenoids appear to play roles in plant defense mechanisms, they were evaluated for their effects on economically important plant pathogenic fungi of the genera Colletotrichum, Botrytis, Fusarium, and Phomopsis. We further investigated these peanut phytoalexins, together with some related natural and synthetic stilbenoids (a total of 24 compounds) in a panel of bioassays to determine their anti-inflammatory, cytotoxic, and antioxidant activities in mammalian cells. Several of these compounds were also evaluated as mammalian opioid receptor competitive antagonists. Assays for adult mosquito and larvae toxicity were also performed. The results of these studies reveal that peanut stilbenoids, as well as related natural and synthetic stilbene derivatives, display a diverse range of biological activities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Arachis / chemistry*
  • Arachis / microbiology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Fungicides, Industrial / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Insecticides
  • Phytoalexins
  • Plants / microbiology
  • Receptors, Opioid / metabolism
  • Seeds / chemistry*
  • Sesquiterpenes / metabolism
  • Sesquiterpenes / pharmacology*
  • Stilbenes / metabolism
  • Stilbenes / pharmacology*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Antioxidants
  • Fungicides, Industrial
  • Insecticides
  • Receptors, Opioid
  • Sesquiterpenes
  • Stilbenes
  • Phytoalexins