Antimalarial Activity of Aqueous Extracts of Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus L.) and Benzyl Isothiocyanate.

Ana Maria Pintão, Tiago Santos, Fátima Nogueira

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Malaria remains an important and challenging infectious disease, and novel antimalarials are required. Benzyl isothiocyanate (BITC), the main breakdown product of benzyl glucosinolate, is present in all parts of Tropaeolum majus L. ( T. majus) and has antibacterial and antiparasitic activities. To our knowledge, there is no information on the effects of BITC against malaria. The present study evaluates the antimalarial activity of aqueous extracts of BITC and T. majus seeds, leaves, and stems. We used flow cytometry to calculate the growth inhibition (GI) percentage of the extracts and BITC against unsynchronized cultures of the chloroquine-susceptible Plasmodium falciparum 3D7 - GFP strain. Extracts and/or compounds with at least 70% GI were validated by IC50 estimation against P. falciparum 3D7 - GFP and Dd2 (chloroquine-resistant strain) unsynchronized cultures by flow cytometry, and the resistance index (RI) was determined. T. majus aqueous extracts showed some antimalarial activity that was higher in seeds than in leaves or stems. BITC's GI was comparable to chloroquine's. BITC's IC50 was similar in both strains; thus, a cross-resistance absence with aminoquinolines was found (RI < 1). BITC presented features that could open new avenues for malaria drug discovery.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2316
JournalMolecules (Basel, Switzerland)
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2024


  • Plasmodium falciparum
  • Tropaeolum majus L
  • antimalarials
  • benzyl isothiocyanate


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