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Benzoheterocycles are heterocycles which are fused with a benzene ring. Coumarone, thianaphthene, benzopyridine, isoquinoline, and dibenzopyridine are important benzoheterocycles. Benzoheterocycles are found in natural substances. Most of the biologically important alkaloid compounds contain benzoheterocycles.
Several benzoheterocycles have been reported so far as possessing various biological activities and some of the examples are camptothecin which is a quinoline alkaloid inhibiting the DNA enzyme topoisomerase. Reserpine is an indole alkaloid, which has been used for the control of high blood pressure and the treatment of psychotic behavior. Ajmaline and strychnine are also indole alkaloids, the former being an antiarrhythmic agent and the latter an extremely toxic pesticide. The neurotoxins, saxitoxin and tetrodotoxin, both have marine origins and are characterized by guanidiniun moieties. Aflatoxin B1 is a non-nitrogenous carcinogenic compound produced by the Aspergillus fungus. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid and acts as a building block in protein synthesis and is also an important constituent of protein-based food and dietary fibres. In addition to other applications, benzoheterocycles are used in the industry as solvent, dyes and rubber vulcanization accelerators.