An adenine derivative, 9-β-D-glucopyranosyl adenine, reported for the first time from a natural source, in addition to nine known compounds were isolated from the seeds of Coix lacryma-jobi. Their structures were elucidated based on extensive spectroscopic and chemical studies. The isolated compounds and the ethanol extract have been assayed for melanin inhibition using B16-F10 melanoma cell line. The results of our study suggested the potential use of Coix lacryma-jobi seeds as a skin whitening agent and reveal the seeds to be a rich source of important phytochemicals with melanogenesis inhibitory activity. Among the isolated compounds, coixol (2) and 2-O-β-glucopyranosyl-7-methoxy-2H-1,4-benzoxazin-3(4H)-one (8) exhibited potent melanogenesis inhibitory activity with no obvious melanocytotoxicity. The rest of the compounds showed weak to moderate activity.
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