Alkaloids - Chemical Compounds | Nitrogen Atoms

Alkaloids – Chemical Compounds | Nitrogen Atoms

Alkaloids – Chemical Compounds | Nitrogen Atoms

Alkaloids are chemical compounds that mostly contain basic nitrogen atoms (Naught and Wilkinson, 1997).

Alkaloids – Chemical Compounds | Nitrogen Atoms

This group also include some related compound with neutral and even weakly acidic properties (Manske, 1965). Some synthetic compounds of similar structure are also attributed to alkaloids (Manske, 1965).

Alkaloid are made by a big organism made up of different variety, including bacteria, fungi plants, and animals and are part of the group of products made out of nature (known as secondary metabolites), many alkaloids can be purified crude extracts by acid/base extraction and some are toxic to other organisms some have pharmacological effects and are used as medications, a recreational drugs, example are the local anesthetic and stimulant cocanine, the stimulant caddeine nicotine, the antimalaia drug quinine, the antibacterial beberine and also most alkaloids have a bitter taste (Rhoades et al., 1979). Most alkaloid contain oxygen in their molecular structure, those compound as nicotine or coniine are typically volatile, and colourless (Rhoades, 1979).

2.1.2 Flavonoids

Flavonoids are mainly water soluble secondary metabolites. They can be extracted with 70% ethanol and remain in the aqeous layer following partition of the extract with petroleum either (Bito and Marco, 2007). Flavonoids are phenolics and henc changes incolour when treated with bases with ammonia. Thus theyae easily deteched on chomatogreams or in solution. Flavonoids caontain conjugated aromatic system and thus show intense absorption bonds in the UV and a visible part of spectrum area. Flavoniod aglycone may occur in single plants in several glycosidic combinations (Zamora et al., 2012).

Flavonoids are widely distributed in plants, fulfilling many functions. Flavonoids has been considered as an important plant meant for pigments for flower coloration, producing yellow or rd/blue pigmentation in petal signed to attract pollinator animals. In higher plants, flavonoid are involved in UV filtration, symbiotic nitrogen fixation and floral pigmentation. They may also act a chemical messenger, Alkaloid, physiological regulator, and cell cycle inhibitors. (Bello et al., 2011). Flavonoids secreted root of its host plant engineers Rhizobia in the infection stage of their symbiotic relationship with legumes like peas, beans, clover, and soy. Rhizobia living soil are able to trigger the secretion of Nod factor, which in turn are recognized by the host plant and can lead to root hair deformation and several cellular responses such a ion fluxes and the formation of a root nodule (Bello et al., 2011).

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In addition, some flavonoids have inhibitory activity against organism that cause plant disease e.g. Fusarium oxyspoum. The widespread distribution of flovonoids, Alkaloid, their variety and their relatively low toxicity compared to other activity plant compound (or instance alkaloids) this mean that many animals, including human, ingest significant quantities in their diet (Williams et al., 2004). While some studies have suggested flovonoid may have a role in cancer prevention, others have been inconclusive o suggested they may be harmful. Flavonoids have various antibacterial properties including direct antibacterial activity, synergistic activity with antibiotics, and the ability to suppress bacterial virulence factors (Williams et al., 2004). Good sources of flavonoids include parsley, onions, blueberries and other berries, black tea, great tea and oolong tea, bananas, all citrus fruit, Ginkgo biloba, rd wine, sea buckthorns, and dak chocolate (with a cocoa content of 70% or greater) (cushine and Lamb, 2011).

Figure 2: Structure of Flavone (Cushnie and Lamb, 2011).


Glycoside is a molecule in which a sugar is bound to a non-carbohydrate moiety usually a small organic molecule. Glycoside plays numerous important roles in living organisms (Bansal, 2004). Many plants store chemicals in the form of inactive glycosides. These can b activate by enzymes hydrolysis which cause the sugar part to be brokkn off, making the chemical available for use (Bansal, 2004).

In formal term, a glycoside is any molecule in which a sugar group is bonded through its anomeric carbon to another group via a glycosidic bond. Glycosides can be linked by an O-(an O-glycoside), N-(aglycosylamine), S- (athioglycoside), or C- (a C-glycoside) glycosdic bond (Bansal, 2004). The given definition is the one used by IUPAC which recommends the Haworth projection to correctly assign stereochemical configuration. Many authors require in addition that the sugar be bonded to a non-sugar for the molecule to qualify as a glycoside, thus excluding polysaccharides. The sugar group is then known as the glycone and the non-sugar group as the aglycon or genin part of the glycoside. The glycon can consist of a single sugar group (monosaccharide) or several group Oligosaccharide (Bansal, 2004).

Chemically, the glycosides are acetals in which the hydroxyl of the sugar is condensed with a hydroxyl group of the non-sugar component, and the secondary hydroxyl is condensed within the sugar molecule itself to form an oxide ring (Brito and Macro, 2007). More simply, they may b considered as sugar ethers. The non-sugar component is known as the aglycone moiety while the sugar component is called glycone. Both alpha and beta glycosides are obtainable (Brito and Marco, 2007).

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Importance of glycoside

Glycoside play important roles in the life of plant such as regulatory protective, and sanitary function. Glycoside from black mustard yields allyliosothiocyanate, a powerful local irritant. Many of the glycosides have been isolated, purified, and employed in this forms medicine (Clean and Craig, 2006).

Figure 3: Structure of salicin (Banal, 2004).


This group of glycoside is widely distributed in higher plants. Saponin are characterized by forming colloidal solution in which form upon shaking. They have bitter and acidic taste, and drugs containing them are usually stimulatory and otherwise irritating to the mucous membrane (Kar, 2007). They destroy red blood corpuscle by haemoysis, and they are toxic especially to cold blooded animals, many being used as fish poisons. Upon hydrolysis they yield an aglycone known as “sapogenin”. The sapognin form radily crystallizable upon acetylating by which menas they may be purified and studied (Kar, 2007).

The more poisonous saponins are often called “sapotoxin”. Much of the recent research conducted on the saponin-containing plants was motivated by the attempt to discover precursors for cortistone. Since the source limit the supply of cortistone. Since limit supply of cortistone, academic, industrial, and governmental research agencies have examined many species of plants particularly those steroidal sapongenins (Sarker and Nahar, 2007).


A tannin is an astringent, bitter plant polyphenolic compound that bind to and precipitates protein and various other organic compound including amino acids and alkaliodds (Katie et al., 2006). The term (from tanna, an old high German word for oak or fir tree, as in tannenbaum) refers to the ue of wood tanni fom oak in tanning anima hides into leather, hence the word “tan” and “tanning” for the treatment of leather, However, the term “tanna” by extension is widely applied to any large polyphenolic compound containing sufficient hydroxyl and other suitable group (such as carboxyl) to form strong complexes with protein and other macromolecule (Katie et al., 2006).

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The tannin compound are widely distributed in many species of plant where they play a role in protection from predation, and perhaps also pesticide, and in plant growth regulation. The astringency from the tannin is what cause the dry and pucker feeling in the mouth following the consumption of un ripened fruit or red wine. Likewise, the destruction or modification of tannins with time plays as important role in the ripening of fruit and the aging of wine (Rossier, 2006).

Tannins are an important in the process of tanning leather. Oak bark, mimosa, chestnut and quebracho tree have traditionally been the primary source of tannery tannin, though inorganic tanning agents are also in use today and account for 90% of the world’s leather production. It is component in the type of industrial particleboard adhesive developed jointly by the Tanzania Industrial Research and Development Orgnization and Forintek Labs Canada. Pinus tannin has been investigated for the production of wool adhesives (Tabaco et al., 2006). When incubated with red grape juice and red wine with high content of condensed tannin, the poliovirus, herpes simplex virus, and various enteric viruses are inactivated. In tissue-cultured cell assays tannin have shown antiviral, antibacterial effect. Foods rich in tannins can be used in the treatment of HFE hereditary hemochromatois, a hereditary disease characterized by excessive absorption of dietary iron, resulting in a pathological increase in total body iron stores (Souza et al., 2006).

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