Interactions of fungi with non-isothiocyanate products of the plant glucosinolate pathway: A review on product formation, antifungal activity, mode of action and biotransformation

Phytochemistry. 2022 Aug;200:113245. doi: 10.1016/j.phytochem.2022.113245. Epub 2022 May 24.


The glucosinolate pathway, which is present in the order Brassicales, is one of the most researched defensive natural product biosynthesis pathways. Its core molecules, the glucosinolates are broken down upon pathogen challenge or tissue damage to yield an array of natural products that may help plants defend against the stressor. Though the most widely known glucosinolate decomposition products are the antimicrobial isothiocyanates, there is a wide range of other volatile and non-volatile natural products that arise from this biosynthetic pathway. This review summarizes our current knowledge on the interaction of these much less examined, non-isothiocyanate products with fungi. It deals with compounds including (1) glucosinolates and their biosynthesis precursors; (2) glucosinolate-derived nitriles (e.g. derivatives of 1H-indole-3-acetonitrile), thiocyanates, epithionitriles and oxazolidine-2-thiones; (3) putative isothiocyanate downstream products such as raphanusamic acid, 1H-indole-3-methanol (= indole-3-carbinol) and its oligomers, 1H-indol-3-ylmethanamine and ascorbigen; (4) 1H-indole-3-acetonitrile downstream products such as 1H-indole-3-carbaldehyde (indole-3-carboxaldehyde), 1H-indole-3-carboxylic acid and their derivatives; and (5) indole phytoalexins including brassinin, cyclobrassinin and brassilexin. Herein, a literature review on the following aspects is provided: their direct antifungal activity and the proposed mechanisms of antifungal action, increased biosynthesis after fungal challenge, as well as data on their biotransformation/detoxification by fungi, including but not limited to fungal myrosinase activity.

Keywords: Cruciferae; Fungal metabolism; Glucosinolates; Plant pathogenic fungi; Plant-microbe interactions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology
  • Biological Products*
  • Biotransformation
  • Fungi / metabolism
  • Glucosinolates* / metabolism
  • Glucosinolates* / pharmacology
  • Isothiocyanates / metabolism
  • Isothiocyanates / pharmacology


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Biological Products
  • Glucosinolates
  • Isothiocyanates
  • isothiocyanic acid