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Research Project: Optimization of the Nutritional, Functional, and Sensory Properties of Raw and Processed Legumes, Grains, and Specialty Crops

Location: Healthy Processed Foods Research

Title: Habitat-specific divergence of phenolic defenses in Protium subserratum (Burseraceae)

Author
item Lokvam, John - University Of California
item Metz, Margaret - University Of California
item Takeoka, Gary
item Nguyen, Lien - University Of California
item Fine, Paul V - University Of California

Submitted to: Chemoecology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/8/2015
Publication Date: 6/25/2015
Citation: Lokvam, J., Metz, M.R., Takeoka, G.R., Nguyen, L., Fine, P.A. 2015. Habitat-specific divergence of phenolic defenses in Protium subserratum (Burseraceae). Chemoecology. doi: 10.1007/S00049-015-0198-1.

Interpretive Summary: The procyanidin (PC) content of leaves from several populations of clay, brown-sand and white-sand ecotypes of P. subserratum at several sites across more than 100 km of Amazonian Peru was examined. Leaves from P. subserratum trees growing in brown-sand (BS), clay soil (CS) and white-sand (WS) habitats all contain approximately the same mass investment (average 17% of leaf dry weight) in procyandins (PCs). However, the chemical structures that make up P. subserratum PCs showed habitat-specific patterns of accumulation. PCs from BS and CS habitat leaves are indistinguishable but are markedly different from those found in WS leaves. Procyanidins are attracting increasing attention due to their potential health benefits observed in vitro and in vivo. Procyanidins have potent antioxidant activity and the ability to scavenge reactive oxygen and nitrogen species. Qualitative and quantitative information about the procyanidin composition of food is lacking due to analytical constraints and lack of analytical methodology for separating, characterizing and quantifying these constituents. Analytical methodology developed in this research will allow us to determine the procyanidin composition of foods such as grapes and red rice.

Technical Abstract: The procyanidin (PC) content of leaves from several populations of clay, brown-sand and white-sand ecotypes of P. subserratum at several sites across more than 100 km of Amazonian Peru was examined. Leaves from P. subserratum trees growing in brown-sand (BS), clay soil (CS) and white-sand (WS) habitats all contained approximately the same mass investment (average 17% of leaf dry weight) in PCs. No significant differences in soluble PC mass investment were observed, either among all samples when grouped by habitat type or among age classes when grouped by habitat type. Within habitat types and among age groups, only BS adults (N=7) and juveniles (N=4) showed significantly different investments in PCs (17.6 v. 9.5 % LDW respectively, p<0.01). BS and CS habitat PCs have almost entirely epicatechin as chain initiators and epicatechin as chain extenders while WS habitat PCs have almost entirely catechin as chain initiators and both catechin and epicatechin as chain extenders. Significant differences in relative PC oligomer length were found between both BS and CS vs. WS habitat types (p<0.01 in both cases). BS PC polymers were, on average, more than 50% longer than those found in WS leaves. PC protein precipitation efficiency, however, did not differ among habitats.