Novel rhythms of N1-acetyl-N2-formyl-5- methoxykynuramine and its precursor melatonin in water hyacinth: Importance for phytoremediation

Dun Xian Tan, Lucien C. Manchester, Paolo Di Mascio, Glaucia R. Martinez, Fernanda M. Prado, Russel J. Reiter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

150 Scopus citations


N1-acetyl-N2-formyl-5-methoxykynuramine (AMFK) is a major metabolite of melatonin in mammals. To investigate whether AFMK exists in plants, an aquatic plant, water hyacinth, was used. To achieve this, LC/MS/MS with a deuterated standard was employed. AFMK was identified in any plant for the first time. Both it and its precursor, melatonin, were rhythmic with peaks during the late light phase. These novel rhythms indicate that these molecules do not serve as the chemical signal of darkness as in animals but may relate to processes of photosynthesis or photoprotection. These possibilities are supported by higher production of melatonin and AFMK in plants grown in sunlight (10,000-15,000 μW/cm2) compared to those grown under artificial light (400-450 μW/cm2). Melatonin and AFMK, as potent free radical scavengers, may assist plants in coping with harsh environmental insults, including soil and water pollutants. High levels of melatonin and AFMK in water hyacinth may explain why this plant more easily tolerates environmental pollutants, including toxic chemicals and heavy metals and is successfully used in phytoremediation. These novel findings could lead to improvements in the phytoremediative capacity of plants by either stimulating endogenous melatonin synthesis or by adding melatonin to water/soil in which they are grown.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1724-1729
Number of pages6
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jun 1 2007


  • AFMK
  • Antioxidant
  • Circadian rhythm
  • Plant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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