Alpha copaene is a hydrocarbon that is first extracted from the copaiba tree, copaiferalangsdorfii. It is the major constituent of the essential oils of rhizome, Piper boahmeriaefolium, leaves and resin of Canariumparvumleen, Croton Julocroton, etc.
It is also present in Angelica root and seed oil, Carrot seed and leaf oil, Basil oil, Bay leaf oil, Cananga leaf oil, Cajeput oil, Clary sage oil, Sweet orange oil, Grape fruit oil, etc.
It is a sesquiterpene hydrocarbon with the molecular formula C15H24. It is also referred by various other names such as copaene, aglaiene, a-copaene, (-)-a-copaene and so on.
Attributes of alpha-copaene:
It is a liquid which is colorless, clear and viscous in nature. It is characterized by a woody spicy honey aroma.
In the study titled “Chemical Constituents and Evaluationof Antimicrobial and Cytotoxic Activities of Kielmeyeracoriacea Mart. & Zucc. Essential Oil” it is stated that Alpha copaene found in the inner bark essential oil of Kielmeyeracoriacea Mart. &Zucc. showed remarkable antimicrobial activity against gram positive and gram negative bacteria.
Further it was also found that the presence of high amount of sesquiterpenes namely alpha copaene, alpha-(E)-bergamotene and beta-bisabolene in the inner bark essential oil enable the oil to exhibit significant antimicrobial activity against the anaerobic bacteria Prevotellanigercens.
Anti-proliferative, antioxidant, anti-genotoxic and cytotoxic activities:
Alpha copaene possess antioxidant, cytotoxic and antigenotoxic properties. This is witnessed in the study “Cytotoxic and cytogenetic effects of α-copaene on rat neuron and N2a neuroblastoma cell lines”. In this study, the healthy neuron and N2a neuroblastoma cell cultures of a rat has been tested with alpha copaene concentrations. It was found that:
- Alpha copaene significantly reduced the cell proliferation in the rat neurons and in N2a neuroblastoma cell cultures thus exhibiting anti–proliferative activity.
- It increased the Total antioxidant capacity and at higher levels of concentrations, it also increased the total oxidation status in neuron N2a neuroblastoma cells, thus exhibiting antioxidant capacity.
- It doesn’t show any genotoxic effect on both neurons and N2a neuroblastoma cell lines. Thus it owns antigenotoxic properties.
- Mild cytotoxic effects were exhibited on N2a neuroblastoma cells.