Biosynthesis of natural and novel C-glycosylflavones utilising recombinant Oryza sativa C-glycosyltransferase (OsCGT) and Desmodium incanum root proteins.
In East African small-holder farming of maize, the cattle forage legume, Desmodium uncinatum is used as an intercrop due to its allelopathic inhibition of parasitism by Striga hermonthica, an obligate parasitic weed that can devastate the maize crop. Bioassay-guided fractionation of the root extract of D. uncinatum revealed isoschaftoside to be the main compound in the most potent fraction inhibiting growth of germinated S. hermonthica radicles. Bioassays repeated with isoschaftoside isolated from a different plant source, Passiflora incarnata, proved it to be a biologically active component. Analysis of the root exudates produced by hydroponically grown D. uncinatum showed isoschaftoside to be present in the hydroponic media at biologically active concentrations of 10-100 nM.