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Bryophytes – an emerging source for herbal remedies and chemical production

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 October 2016

Marko S. Sabovljević
Faculty of Biology, Institute of Botany, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia
Aneta D. Sabovljević
Faculty of Biology, Institute of Botany, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia
Nur Kusaira K. Ikram
Faculty of Science, Institute of Biological Sciences, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Department of Biotechnology and Biomedicine, Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Denmark
Anantha Peramuna
Department of Biotechnology and Biomedicine, Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Denmark
Hansol Bae
Department of Biotechnology and Biomedicine, Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Denmark
Henrik T. Simonsen
Department of Biotechnology and Biomedicine, Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Denmark
E-mail address:


Bryophytes (including mosses, liverworts and hornworts) are a heterogeneous group of terrestrial plants, which comprise over 24,000 species worldwide. Given the various biological activities reported from bryophytes, they have a huge commercial potential. Due to their minute size and rather small biomass in various ecosystems, bryophytes are a seldom part of ethnomedicine and rarely subject to medicinal and chemical analyses. Still, hundreds of novel natural products have been isolated from bryophytes. Bryophytes have been shown to contain numerous potentially useful natural products, including polysaccharides, lipids, rare amino acids, terpenoids, phenylpropanoids, quinones and many other specialized metabolites. Additionally, different bryophyte extracts and isolated compounds have shown antimicrobial, antiviral, cytotoxic, nematocidal, insecticidal, effects on smooth and non-striated muscles, weight loss, plant growth regulators and allelopathic activities. Bryophytes also cause allergies and contact dermatitis. All these effects highlight bryophytes as potential source for herbal remedies and production of chemicals to be used in various products.

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