Journal of natural products 2017 10 11() doi 10.1021/acs.jnatprod.6b01046
Comparatively little attention has been paid to the bryophytes for use in the human diet or medicine in spite of the presence of 23 000 species globally. Several hundred new compounds have been isolated from the liverworts (Marchantiophyta), and more than 40 new carbon skeletons of terpenoids and aromatic compounds were found. Most of the liverworts studied elaborate characteristic odiferous, pungent, and bitter-tasting compounds, of which many show antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral, allergic contact dermatitis, cytotoxic, insecticidal, anti-HIV, plant growth regulatory, neurotrophic, NO production and superoxide anion radical release inhibitory, muscle relaxing, antiobesity, piscicidal, and nematocidal activities. The biological effects ascribed to the liverworts are mainly due to lipophilic sesqui- and diterpenoids, phenolic compounds, and polyketides, which are the principal constituents of their oil bodies. Some mosses and liverworts produce significant levels of vitamin B2 and tocopherols, as well as prostaglandin-like highly unsaturated fatty acids. The most characteristic chemical phenomenon of the liverworts is that most of the sesqui- and diterpenoids are enantiomers of those found in higher plants. In this review, the chemical constituents and potential medicinal uses of bryophytes are discussed.