Category Archives: Botany

Researchers Identify New Enzyme That Infects Plants – Paving The Way For Potential Disease Prevention (Botany)

Scientists have identified an unusual enzyme that plays a major role in the infection of plants – and have shown that disabling this enzyme effectively stops plant disease in its tracks.

By discovering previously unexplored ways in which crop pathogens break through plant cell walls, the scientists have opened up opportunities for developing effective disease control technologies.

The new research, published in Science, describes a family of enzymes found in a microorganism called Phytophthora infestans. The enzymes enable crop pathogens to degrade pectin – a key component of plant cell walls – thereby enabling the pathogens to break through the plant’s defences to infect the plant.

Led by biologists and chemists from the University of York, the international team of researchers discovered the new class of enzymes that attack pectin called LPMOs. The team also showed that disabling the gene that encodes this enzyme rendered the pathogen incapable of infecting the host.

Damage

P. infestans is known to cause potato late blight, a devastating plant disease that led to widespread starvation in Europe and more than a million deaths in Ireland in the 1840s, in what became known as ‘The Great Famine’. Plant infection continues to cause billions of dollars’ worth of damage to global crop production each year and continues to threaten world food security. 

The identification of this new gene could open up new ways of protecting crops from this important group of pathogens.

Lead author on the report, Dr Federico Sabbadin, from the Biology Department’s Centre for Novel Agricultural Products (CNAP), at the University of York said: “These new enzymes appear to be important in all plant pathogenic oomycetes, and this discovery opens the way for potentially powerful strategies in crop protection”.

Professor Simon McQueen-Mason, also from CNAP, remarked that the work was “the result of interdisciplinary collaborations between biologists and chemists at York along with plant pathologists at the James Hutton Institute, and genomicists at CNRS, with invaluable molecular insights from Professor Neil Bruce (CNAP) and Professors Gideon Davies and Paul Walton in the Department of Chemistry at York.”

Featured image: Phytophthora infestans found in potato plants. © University of York


For more information:
Secreted pectin monooxygenase promotes plant infection by pathogenic oomycetes. Chemistry (2021). DOI: 10.1126 / science.abj1342


Provided by University Of York

Early Land Plants Evolved From Freshwater Algae, Fossils Reveal (Botany)

The world may need to start thinking differently about plants, according to a new report in the journal Science by researchers who took a fresh look at spore-like microfossils with characteristics that challenge our conventional understanding about the evolution of land plants.

Found in rock samples retrieved in Australia more than 60 years ago, the microfossils dating to the Lower Ordovician Period, approximately 480 million years ago, fill an approximately 25-million-year gap in knowledge by reconciling the molecular clock—or pace of evolution—with the fossil spore record—the physical evidence of early plant life gathered by scientists over the years.

This reconciliation supports an evolutionary-developmental model connecting plant origins to freshwater green algae, or charophyte algae, said Boston College paleobotanist Paul Strother, a co-author of the new report. The “evo-devo” model posits a more nuanced understanding of plant evolution over time, from simple cell division to initial embryonic stages, rather than large jumps from one species to another.

“We found a mix of fossils linking older, more problematic spore-like microfossils with younger spores that are clearly derived from land plants,” said Strother. “This helps to bring the fossil spore record into alignment with molecular clock dates if we consider the origin of land plants as a long-term process involving the evolution of embryonic development.”

The fossil record preserves direct evidence of the evolutionary assembly of the plant regulatory and developmental genome, Strother added. This process starts with the evolution of the plant spore and leads to the origin of plant tissues, organs, and eventually macroscopic, complete plants—perhaps somewhat akin to mosses living today.

“When we consider spores as an important component of the evolution of land plants, there is no longer a gap in the fossil record between molecular dating and fossil recovery,” Strother said. Absent that gap, “we have a much clearer picture of a whole new evolutionary step: from simple cellularity to complex multicellularity.”

As a result, researchers and the public may need to re-think how they view the origin of terrestrial plants—that pivotal advance of life from water to land, said Strother.

Early land plants evolved from freshwater algae, fossils reveal
A new assemblage of fossil spores of Lower Ordovician age, about 480 Ma, are intermediate in character between controversial Cambrian forms and well-accepted plant spores from later Ordovician and Silurian deposits. This linkage aligns fossil spores with molecular data and helps explain why megafossil plants axes don’t appear in the geological record until 75 million years later during the Silurian. Credit: Paul Strother

“We need to move away from thinking of the origin of land plants as a singularity in time, and instead integrate the fossil record into an evo-devo model of genome assembly across millions of years during the Paleozoic Era—specifically between the Cambrian and Devonian divisions within that era,” Strother said. “This requires serious re-interpretation of problematic fossils that have previously been interpreted as fungi, not plants.”

Strother and co-author Clinton Foster, of the Australian National University, set out tosimply describe an assemblage of spore-like microfossils from a deposit dating to the Early Ordovician age—approximately 480 million years ago. This material fills in a gap of approximately 25 million years in the fossil spore record, linking well-accepted younger plant spores to older more problematic forms, said Strother.

Strother and Foster examined populations of fossil spores extracted from a rock core drilled in 1958 in northern Western Australia. These microfossils are composed of highly resistant organic compounds in their cell walls that can structurally survive burial and lithification. They were studied at Boston College, and at the ANU’s Research School of Earth Sciences, with standard optical light microscopy.

“We use fossil spores extracted from rock drill cores to construct an evolutionary history of plants going back in time to the very origin of plants from their algal ancestors,” said Strother. “We have independent age control on these rock samples, so we study evolution by looking at changes in the kinds of spores that occur over time.”

Molecular biologists also look at evolutionary history through time by using genes from living plants to estimate the timing of plant origins using “molecular clocks”—a measurement of evolutionary divergence based on the average rate during which mutations accumulate in a species’ genome.

However, there are huge discrepancies, up to tens of millions of years, between direct fossil data and molecular clock dates, said Strother. In addition, there are similar time gaps between the oldest spores and when actual whole plants first occur.

These gaps resulted in hypotheses about a “missing fossil record” of the earliest land plants,” said Strother.

“Our work seeks to resolve some of these questions by integrating the fossil spore record into an evolutionary developmental model of plant origins from algal ancestors,” Strother said.

Featured image: A new assemblage of fossil spores of Lower Ordovician age, about 480 Ma, are intermediate in character between controversial Cambrian forms and well-accepted plant spores from later Ordovician and Silurian deposits. This linkage aligns fossil spores with molecular data and helps explain why megafossil plants axes don’t appear in the geological record until 75 million years later during the Silurian. Credit: Paul Strother


Reference: A fossil record of land plant origins from charophyte algae, Science  13 Aug 2021: Vol. 373, Issue 6556, pp. 792-796. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abj2927


Provided by Boston College

Study Discovers Unique New Insect-killing Tobacco Plant in WA’s Gascoyne (Botany)

Curtin University researchers have identified seven new species of wild tobacco growing in Western Australia and the Northern Territory, including the first of this plant type found to kill insects, which was discovered in northern Western Australia.

Published today, the research, which identified a wild tobacco plant unique for using a sticky substance to trap and kill insects, was led by an international team of scientists from Curtin, the Royal Botanic Gardens (RBG) Kew and the University of Vienna.

Research author Professor Mark Chase, from Curtin’s School of Molecular and Life Sciences and RBG Kew, said the insect-killing plant species were collected near a truck stop on the Northwest Coastal Highway, north of Carnarvon in WA’s Gascoyne region.

“We were surprised to find species new to science in such barren land, including the species we have named Nicotania insecticida, which has sticky glands covering all its surfaces to trap and kill small insects such as gnats, aphids and flies,” Professor Chase said.

“This is the first time a wild tobacco species has been reported to kill insects, so it is very significant.

“The seeds from WA were cultivated back in London in the greenhouses at Kew Gardens, where the plants continued to kill insects in the greenhouses, so its insidious deadly nature is not diminished by the great distance from its homeland.”

Research co-author Adjunct Research Associate Dr Maarten Christenhusz, also from Curtin’s School of Molecular and Life Sciences, said the arid areas that dominated the Australian continent had been considered almost barren with limited plant diversity, but in recent years these under-studied areas had been found home to many new and unusual species.

“In addition to Nicotiana insecticida, our other new species include Nicotiana salina, which grows along salt lakes that mark the border between the WA wheatbelt and the central region that is too dry for crop cultivation,” Dr Christenhusz said.

“Another of the new species, Nicotiana walpa, from Kata Tjuta National Park in the Northern Territory (near Uluru) was given its name from the local Aboriginal word for “wind” because it appears only when there have been storms in the desert. If the rains do not appear, as is often the case, this species remains as seeds in the soil.”

The collaborative project studied how a group of herbaceous species have been able to adapt to the harsh conditions of the Australian arid zone and involved eight years of hunting for tobaccos in all Australian states and territories except Tasmania, where these species do not occur.

The paper, ‘Nicotiana insecticida’, was published in journal Curtis’s Botanical Magazine and can be found online here.


Provided by Curtin University

Rare New Orchid Species Just Discovered in the Andes (Botany)

For its size, Ecuador has an impressive biological diversity that harbours a unique set of species and ecosystems, many of them endemic or threatened. Because of this great biodiversity, most studies still focus on recording species richness and very little is known about how these species actually interact. This is why in 2017 Dr Catherine H. Graham from the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, with support from the European Research Council and local NGO Aves y Conservation, initiated an ambitious project in the northwestern Andes of Ecuador to study the ecology of plant-hummingbird interactions along an altitudinal and land-use gradient.

To this end, researchers established 18 transects in areas of well-preserved cloud forest and sites at different altitude and with different levels of disturbance, and visited them monthly to count the flowers that attract hummingbirds and to place time-lapse cameras in flowering plants.

Several new species to science were discovered during the intensive botanical work of identifying the nearly 400 plant species recorded by the surveys and cameras. One of them is a new orchid species called Lepanthes microprosartima.

Found on the western slopes of Pichincha volcano in northern Ecuador, L. microprosartima is endemic to the Yanacocha and Verdecocha reserves, where it grows at 3200 to 3800 m above sea level in evergreen montane forest – remarkably, this species can thrive even under deep shade in the forest.

Over three years of monitoring, only 40 individuals of L. microprosartima were found, which suggests it is a rare species. Because of this, and because it is only found in a small area, researchers preliminarily assessed it as Critically Endangered according to IUCN criteria.

Within the same hummingbird monitoring project, another new orchid – Lepanthes caranqui – was discovered in eastern Pichincha. Around the same time, a different research group from the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador found the same species in Imbabura. While in Imbabura it was found growing in páramo, with small groups on roadside embankments, in Pichincha it grew in evergreen montane forest, on top of tree trunks or lower branches, in the company of other orchid species. Its name, Lepanthes caranqui, honors the Caranqui culture that historically occupied the areas where this plant grows.

But the wonders of Ecuadorean biodiversity don’t stop there – a research project of Ecuador’s National Institute of Biodiversity found another new species, as small as 3 cm, in the southwest of El Oro. Lepanthes oro-lojaensis was actually discovered on the border between El Oro and Loja provinces, hence its name. It was only found from one locality, where its populations are threatened by cattle ranching, fires, plantations of exotic species, and the collection of shrubs as firewood. This is why researchers believe it should be listed as Critically Endangered according to IUCN criteria.

These additions to the Ecuadorean flora are all described in the open-access, peer-reviewed journal PhytoKeys. They are proof that Ecuador – one of the world’s megadiverse countries – hides much more biodiversity waiting to be explored.

Featured image: Lepanthes microprosartima, a new species of orchid from Ecuador © Diego Francisco Tobar Suàrez


Provided by Pensoft Publishers

Why Sunflowers Face East? (Botany)

Sunflowers face the rising sun because increased morning warmth attracts more bees and also helps the plants reproduce more efficiently, according to a study by researchers at the University of California, Davis. The results were published Aug. 9 in New Phytologist.

“It’s quite striking that they face east,” said Stacey Harmer, professor of plant biology in the UC Davis College of Biological Sciences and senior author on the paper. “It’s better for them to face east, as they produce more offspring.”

While sunflowers are growing, their heads turn back and forth to track the sun during the day. Previous work from Harmer’s lab showed that this tracking is controlled by the plant’s internal circadian clock.

But as the flower heads, or capitula, mature and their stems become stiff and woody, this movement decreases until the heads are all facing the morning sun.

When postdoctoral researcher Nicky Creux changed the orientation of sunflowers by turning their pots around, she noticed that east-facing flower heads attracted a lot more bees, especially in the morning, than plants facing west.

In a series of experiments, Creux, Harmer and colleagues found that the east-facing heads were significantly warmer in the morning than west-facing flower heads. That warmth brings an energy benefit to foraging bees early in the morning, Harmer said. Direct sunlight also lights up ultraviolet markings on the flower petals that are visible to bees but not to human eyes.

Orientation affects pollen release and flower development

A sunflower is actually a composite of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of individual flowers. These individual florets develop first at the outer edge of the flower head, forming characteristic spiral patterns.

The orientation of the plants also affected flower development and reproductive success. East-facing plants tended to produce larger and heavier seeds. They also released pollen earlier in the morning, coinciding with the times when bees visit.

These effects seemed to be controlled by the temperature at the flower head. When researchers used a portable heater to warm up west-facing heads, they were able to get similar results to east-facing flower heads.

Finally, Evan Brown, an undergraduate student supervised by Ben Blackman at the University of Virginia, took sterile male plants, which could produce seeds but not make pollen, and surrounded them with normal plants facing east or west. Using genotyping, they were able to distinguish whether the male-sterile plants were pollinated by east- or west-facing plants. The team found that pollen from the east-facing plants was responsible for more offspring than that from west-facing plants.

The work was supported by grants from NSF and the U.S. Department of Agriculture-National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Additional authors on the paper are: Sana Saeed and Julin Maloof at UC Davis; Srinidhi Holalu and Daniel Yang, UC Berkeley; Evan Brown, Austin Garner and C. Lane Scher, University of Virginia. Ben Blackman is now at UC Berkeley, and Nicky Creux is now at the University of Pretoria, South Africa.

Video: Bees visiting west-facing (left) versus east-facing sunflowers in the morning. Facing east allows sunflowers to warm faster and affects development of florets, promoting pollination and reproductive success.

Featured image: Mature sunflowers always face east. New UC Davis research shows that warm morning sun improves their reproductive success. (Photo by Jason Spyres)


Reference

Creux, N.M., Brown, E.A., Garner, A.G., Saeed, S., Scher, C.L., Holalu, S.V., Yang, D., Maloof, J.N., Blackman, B.K. and Harmer, S.L. (2021), Flower orientation influences floral temperature, pollinator visits and plant fitness. New Phytol. https://doi.org/10.1111/nph.17627


Provided by UC Davis

New Species of Resedaceae Found in Dehong, Yunnan (Botany)

Resedaceae is a family of mainly Mediterranean herbs. The genus Stixis is one of the six genera in family Resedaceae. To date, China has recorded three species and one subspecies of the genus Stixis, and all these species were reported in Yunnan province. 

When surveying Extremely Small Population of plants in southwest Yunnan, researchers from the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Yunnan Tongbiguan provincial Nature Reserve collected an unknown species in Dehong. After careful morphological study and literature review, they confirmed the species was new to science. 

The new species was named Stixis yingjiangensis, referring to the type locality, Yingjiang County, Dehong Dai and Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan, China. It was published in Taiwania

Stixis yingjiangensis is morphologically similar to S. philippinensis and S. villiflora, but differs from the two species by both surfaces with sparsely strigillose on lateral nerves, midrib and pustules, inflorescences axillary, filaments lower third pubescent, upper two thirds glabrous, ovary glabrous, etc. 

Currently, only two populations have been found in Yingjiang County, the first population (eight individuals were observed) is in Nabang Town, climbs trees at the edge of the forest. The second population (only two individuals were observed) is in Kachang Town, grows by the roadside. 

Since the species is found on the border between China and Myanmar, and the investigation in China has not been through enough to fully understand the natural distribution of the species. The researchers proposed the conservation status of Stixis yingjiangensis as Data Deficient (DD) according to the Red List criteriaof the International Union for Conservation of Nature. 

Stixis yingjiangensis (Image by SHEN Jianyong) 
Stixis yingjiangensis (Image by SHEN Jianyong) 
Stixis yingjiangensis (Image by SHEN Jianyong)  
Stixis yingjiangensis (Image by SHEN Jianyong) 

Featured image: Stixis yingjiangensis (Image by SHEN Jianyong) 


Reference: Jian-Yong Shen, Xing-Da Ma, Qiang-Bang Gong, Guo-Hui Huang, Xue-Lian Yang, Ji-Pu Shi, “Stixis yingjiangensis, a new species of Resedaceae from Yunnan, China”, Taiwania, Page: 326 – 331. DOI: 10.6165/tai.2021.66.326


Provided by Chinese Academy of Sciences

New Aroid Species Found in Myanmar (Botany)

Typhonium is the largest genus in the aroid family (Araceae). It comprises of about 100 species of tuberous perennial herbs, and is most often found in wooded areas. 12 species in the genus Typhonium have been found in Myanmar. 

During the exploration of family Araceae in Sagaing Region, Myanmar, a researcher came across an enigmatic Typhonium species collected in Monywa and Budalin Township of Monywa District in August 2020.  

After careful morphological examination and comparing it with the relevant literature, the researchers confirmed that it was a new species, and named it Typhonium edule, referring to the inflorescence and the leaves of the species eaten by local people. The study was published in Phytotaxa.  

Typhonium edule is the 13th representative of the genus Typhonium in Myanmar,” said Mark Arcebal K. Naive, a Filipino PhD candidate at Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. 

Typhonium edule is a seasonally dormant herb. It grows in tropical dry forest with open to semi open canopy at elevations between 50–85 m above sea level. The Burmese people call it ‘kyee-chay’ and cook its inflorescences and leaves. 

Owing to the insufficient information on the distribution and population size of Typhonium edule in the wild, the researchers proposed that the species should be treated as ‘data deficient’ (DD) following the Red List criteria of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). 

Featured image: Typhonium edule (Image by K.Z.Hein)  


Reference: Mark Naive, Khant Hein, “Taxonomic studies of Araceae in Myanmar II: Typhonium edule, a remarkable new aroid species from Monywa District, Sagaing Region”, Phytotaxa, Vol. 513 No. 2: 4 August 2021. DOI: https://doi.org/10.11646/phytotaxa.513.2.7


Provided by Chinese Academy of Sciences

Researchers Are First in the World to Watch Plants ‘Drink’ Water in Real-time (Botany)

Scientists at the University of Nottingham have become the first in the world to find a way to observe how plant roots take in and circulate water at the cellular level, which could help to identify future drought- and flood-resistant crops.

The inability to monitor water uptake inside roots—without damaging the specimen—has been a key stumbling block for researchers seeking to understand the motion of fluids in living plant cells and tissues.

Study lead, Dr. Kevin Webb from the Optics and Photonics Research Group, explains, “To observe water uptake in living plants without damaging them, we have applied a sensitive, laser-based, optical microscopy technique to see water movement inside living roots non-invasively, which has never been done before.

“Fundamentally, the process by which plants are able to thrive and become productive crops is based on how well it can take up water and how well it can manage that process. Water plays an essential role as a solvent for nutrients, minerals and other biomolecules in plant tissues. We’ve developed a way to allow ourselves to watch that process at the level of single cells. We can not only see the water going up inside the root, but also where and how it travels around.

“Feeding the world’s growing population is already a problem. Climate change is causing huge shifts in the pattern and density of waterfall on the planet which leads to problems growing crops in regions hit by floods or droughts. By selecting plants that are better at coping with stress, the goal is to increase global food productivity by understanding and using plant varieties with the best chances of survival that can be most productive in any given environment, no matter how dry or wet.”

How it works

For the study, water transport measurements were performed on the roots of Arabidopsis thaliana, which is a ‘model plant’ for scientists since they can be easily genetically-engineered to interfere with basic processes like water uptake.

The conversion of high-intensity green light into bio-friendly red wavelengths, within the Titanium:Sapphire laser used in the study. Credit: University of Nottingham

Using a gentle laser, the new imaging technique—based on the Nobel Prize-winning Raman scattering technique—allowed researchers to measure water traveling up through the root system of Arabidopsis at the cellular level, and to run a mathematical model to explain and quantify this.

The researchers used ‘heavy’ water (deuterium oxide, or D2O), which contains an extra neutron in the nucleus of each hydrogen atom. By scanning a laser in a line across the root while the plant drank, it was possible to see the ‘heavy’ water moving past via the root tip.

In Arabidopsis that had been genetically-altered to compromise its water uptake, these measurements—combined with the mathematical model—revealed an important water barrier within the root. This confirmed for the first time that water uptake is restricted within the central tissues of the root, inside of which the water vessels are located.

Co-lead, Malcolm Bennett, Professor of Plant Sciences at the University, said, “This innovative technique is a real game-changer in plant science—enabling researchers to visualize water movement at a cell and second scale within living plant tissues for the very first time. This promises to help us address important questions such as—how do plants ‘sense’ water availability? Answers to this question are vital for designing future crops better adapted to the challenges we face with climate change and altered weather patterns.”

The findings of this Leverhulme Trust-funded study, are published in the journal Nature Communications in a paper titled: “Non-invasive hydrodynamic imaging in plant roots at cellular resolution.”

Future applications

While developing the method, the research initially focused on plant cells, which are about 10 times the size of human cells and therefore more easily observed. The research team is currently porting these same methods to human cells to understand exactly the same kinds of processes at an even smaller scale.

Just as with plants, there are tissues in the human body responsible for handling water, which is crucial to function. Transparent tissues of the eye, for example, can suffer from diseases of fluid handling which include ocular lens cataracts; macular degeneration and glaucoma. In future, the new Raman imaging technique could become a valuable healthcare monitoring and detection tool.

Next steps

The researchers are working towards a commercial path for their hydrodynamic Raman imaging technique, and have just applied for funding with four UK and EU agriculture companies to look at tracers that move from plant leaves to roots to understand both directions of water transport. In parallel, the team is working on portable versions of the technology to allow water transport measurements to be taken into the field by farmers and scientists to monitor water handling in crops growing in challenging local environments.

The research team is currently bidding for a European Research Council Synergy Grant with partners in the EU and UK to take the study of water uptake and drought resistance towards being a new tool to help choose and understand how particular crops can be matched to particular local growth conditions.

Featured image: The conversion of high-intensity green light into bio-friendly red wavelengths, within the Titanium:Sapphire laser used in the study. Credit: University of Nottingham


Reference: Flavius C. Pascut et al, Non-invasive hydrodynamic imaging in plant roots at cellular resolution, Nature Communications (2021). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-24913-z


Provided by University of Nottingham

Seeds Of This Plant Can Treat COVID-19 (Botany)

Getting back to nature to trial ways to improve critical care outcomes.

A flowering plant native to North Africa and Western Asia could be utilised in the future treatment of COVID-19 infection.

The seeds of the plant, Nigella Sativa, have been used for centuries as a traditional remedy for multiple medical conditions, including inflammation and infections.  Now, an Australian-first research review article has found it could be used to treat COVID-19.

“There is growing evidence from modelling studies that thymoquinone, an active ingredient of Nigella Sativa, more commonly known as the Fennel Flower, can stick to the COVID- 19 virus spike protein and stop the virus from causing a lung infection.

“It may also block the ‘cytokine’ storm that affects seriously ill patients who are hospitalised with COVID-19,” said Professor Kaneez Fatima Shad, lead author of a recently published comprehensive review article in the prestigious journal, Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology.

Thymoquinone has been extensively studied in laboratories, including animal studies. These studies have shown that thymoquinone can moderate our immune system in a good way, by preventing pro-inflammation chemicals such as interleukins from been released.

This gives thymoquinone a potential role as a treatment for allergic conditions such as asthma, eczema, arthritis conditions including rheumatoid and osteoarthritis and even possibly multiple sclerosis.

“The review paper provides insight into a natural product that has been used as a traditional remedy for over thousand years and may be finally receiving the recognition it deserves.”

— Associate Professor Dennis Cordato.

The review paper details the mechanisms of action of Nigella Sativa and thymoquinone and how they are a promising future treatment of COVID-19 infection.   There have been many barriers to the development of Nigella Sativa as a therapeutic agent in large part due to its poor natural gastrointestinal absorption.

“Advances in pharmacological development such as nanotechnology have seen the chance to overcome this barrier to enable for its use as an effective oral medication.

“Furthermore, the drug has recently been successfully given to patients as a nasal spray and topical paste,” said Dr Wissam Soubra, co-author.

Nigella Sativa has been shown to be helpful in treating high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes mellitus. As an anti-inflammatory treatment, Nigella Sativa has also been found to help patients with allergic rhinitis and sinusitis, eczema, osteoarthritis and childhood epilepsy.

Nigella Sativa has also been proven to be effective in a laboratory environment in killing bacteria such as staphylococcus aureus that can cause a range of mild to severe infections if they enter the skin, and viruses including influenza.

“The review paper provides insight into a natural product that has been used as a traditional remedy for over thousand years and may be finally receiving the recognition it deserves,” said Associate Professor Dennis Cordato, co-author.

The study, The role of thymoquinone, a major constituent of Nigella sativa, in the treatment of inflammatory and infectious diseaseswas recently published in the journal Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology.

Featured image: Seeds from the Nigella Sativa plant, better known as the Fennel Flower.


Reference: Kaneez Fatima Shad et al, The role of thymoquinone, a major constituent of Nigella sativa, in the treatment of inflammatory and infectious diseases, Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology (2021). DOI: 10.1111/1440-1681.13553


Provided by UTS