Project R-11118


Phytochemical and pharmacological study of the Cuban endemic and endangered species Coccoloba cowellii Britton. (Research)


The subject focuses on the phytochemical and pharmacological evaluation of Coccoloba cowellii Britton. This plant is and endemic species of the Camagüey province in Cuba, and is currently in critical danger of extinction according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Therefore, the subject of this proposal is to focus on the phytochemical identification of the major secondary metabolites of this plant (employing modern analytical techniques such as HPLC, LC-MS, NMR) and the testing of its biological activities (antioxidant, antimicrobial, antifungal, antiprotozoal, cytotoxicity) with the purpose of increasing the knowledge about this unstudied species and that such knowledge can be used for its future conservation. Furthermore, due to the work with a plant in critical danger of extinction, we consider it beneficial to know the environmental characteristics in which this plant naturally grows doing soil chemical analyses (soil organic matter, pH, CEC, elemental composition…) and biochemical analyses of the plant material relates to elemental composition and antioxidants. Plant seedlings from Coccoloba cowelli and the model organism Arabidopsis thaliana will be grown under control conditions and exposed to different metal concentrations (related to the soil analyses). Plant stress responses are analyzed and related to its elemental profile, comparing the results with the information related to the wild specimens. The expected results will provide valuable information about an unstudied plant, promoting the reasons for the conservation of this species and will be necessary to be able to grow this species also in vitro that can be used to obtain plant material of controlled quality without damaging the environment.

Period of project

01 January 2021 - 31 December 2021