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In Situ Analysis and Structural Elucidation of Sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia) Tannins for High-Throughput Germplasm Screening

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journal contribution
posted on 26.01.2011, 00:00 by An Gea, Elisabetta Stringano, Ron H. Brown, Irene Mueller-Harvey
A rapid thiolytic degradation and cleanup procedure was developed for analyzing tannins directly in chlorophyll-containing sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia) plants. The technique proved suitable for complex tannin mixtures containing catechin, epicatechin, gallocatechin, and epigallocatechin flavan-3-ol units. The reaction time was standardized at 60 min to minimize the loss of structural information as a result of epimerization and degradation of terminal flavan-3-ol units. The results were evaluated by separate analysis of extractable and unextractable tannins, which accounted for 63.6−113.7% of the in situ plant tannins. It is of note that 70% aqueous acetone extracted tannins with a lower mean degree of polymerization (mDP) than was found for tannins analyzed in situ. Extractable tannins had between 4 and 29 lower mDP values. The method was validated by comparing results from individual and mixed sample sets. The tannin composition of different sainfoin accessions covered a range of mDP values from 16 to 83, procyanidin/prodelphinidin (PC/PD) ratios from 19.2/80.8 to 45.6/54.4, and cis/trans ratios from 74.1/25.9 to 88.0/12.0. This is the first high-throughput screening method that is suitable for analyzing condensed tannin contents and structural composition directly in green plant tissue.

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