Unusual withanolides from aeroponically grown Withania somnifera

Ya Ming Xu, Song Gao, Daniel P. Bunting, A. A.Leslie Gunatilaka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


In an attempt to maximize production and the structural diversity of plant metabolites, the effect of growing the medicinal plant Withania somnifera under soil-less aeroponic conditions on its ability to produce withaferin A and withanolides was investigated. It resulted in the isolation and characterization of two compounds, 3α-(uracil-1-yl)-2,3-dihydrowithaferin A (1) and 3β-(adenin-9-yl)-2,3-dihydrowithaferin A (2), in addition to 10 known withanolides including 2,3-dihydrowithaferin A-3β-O-sulfate. 3β-O-Butyl-2,3-dihydrowithaferin A (3), presumably an artifact formed from withaferin A during the isolation process was also encountered. Reaction of withaferin A with uracil afforded 1 and its epimer, 3β-(uracil-1-yl)-2,3- dihydrowithaferin A (4). The structures of these compounds were elucidated on the basis of their high resolution mass and NMR spectroscopic data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)518-522
Number of pages5
Issue number6
StatePublished - Apr 2011


  • 3α-(Uracil-1-yl)-2,3-dihydrowithaferin A
  • 3β-(Adenin-9-yl)-2,3- dihydrowithaferin A
  • 3β-O-Butyl-2,3-dihydrowithaferin A
  • Aeroponic culture
  • Solanaceae
  • Withania somnifera
  • Withanolides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Plant Science
  • Horticulture


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