• antifungal activity;
  • azaphilone;
  • natural product;
  • sclerotiorin;
  • structural modification

Sclerotiorin, a chlorine-containing azaphilone-type natural product, was first isolated from Penicillium sclerotiorum and has been reported to exhibit weak fungicidal activity. Optimization of the substituents at the 3- and 5-positions of the sclerotiorin framework was investigated with the aim of discovering novel fungicides with improved activity. The design of sclerotiorin analogues involved replacing the diene side chain with a phenyl group or an aromatic- or heteroaromatic-containing aliphatic side chain. The designed compounds were synthesized by cycloisomerization and subsequent oxidation of suitable 2-alkynylbenzaldehydes, in which a variety of substituents were introduced using a Sonogashira coupling reaction. The structures of these newly prepared compounds were confirmed by 1H and 13C NMR spectroscopy, HRMS and single-crystal X-ray analysis. The antifungal activity of the synthesized compounds was evaluated against seven phytopathogenic species. Compounds 3, 9g and 9h were found to have a broad spectrum of fungicidal activity, and these structurally simpler products can be recognized as lead compounds for further optimization.