Seeds from Hypericum species have recently been identified as an interesting source of xanthone derivatives. Extraction of seeds from H. perforatum with MeOH and subsequent concentration via polyamide adsorption yielded a fraction enriched in tetrahydroxyxanthones (THX), which were further semipurified by silica gel chromatography. Based on tentative structure assignment of the two main THX X1 and X2 by NMR a total synthesis was performed for both compounds (THX 1 and 2, respectively), starting with an Ullmann ether synthesis. The synthesized 1 and 2 were characterized via 1D- and 2D-NMR methods as well as by LC/HR-MS analysis and proven to be 1,4,6,7-THX (1) and 1,2,6,7-THX (2). Final structure assignment of the natural Hypericum THX constituents was accomplished by comparing chromatographic and spectroscopic data (LC/MSn and GC/MS) with those of 1 and 2 which were obtained by synthesis. Beyond, investigations into the seeds of H. perforatum and H. tetrapterum by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) provided insights of the structure of the testa (seed coat), which is established by two cell layers, with the lignified sclerenchyma presumably being the depository of the xanthones.
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