Silas D. Childs Professor of Chemistry Emeritus Robin B. Kinnel presented a poster titled “Two Unusual Chlorinated Metabolites from Lyngbya bouillonii Revealed by MALDI Analysis” at the 52nd national meeting of the American Society of Pharmacognosy on Aug. 1 in San Diego. The work, accomplished primarily while he was on sabbatical leave at Scripps Institution of Oceanography during the spring of 2010, capitalized on a new technique for discovering potentially useful natural products.
In this method, labeled sodium nitrate is provided to a culture of the cyanobacteria and the filaments are monitored by mass spectrometry over a growth period of 10 days for new compounds that incorporate nitrogen. Once their masses are identified, scaling up the culture, isolating the compounds and establishing their structures provides new and different substances. These particular compounds have unusual structural features, including a hitherto unknown chlorine substitution pattern in a fatty acid and a rare derivative of glycerol. The compounds are currently being tested for cannabomimetic activity and Kinnel and his students are pursuing their synthesis to establish their stereochemistry.