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Phytochemistry

Differential phenolic profiles in six African savanna woody species in relation to antiherbivore defense.


PMID 21621803

Abstract

Low molecular weight phenolics are suggested to have a role in mediating diet selection in mammalian herbivores. However, very little is known about low molecular weight phenolic profiles of African savanna woody species. We determined low molecular weight phenolic profiles of six woody species with different life history, morphological and functional traits. We investigated interspecific phytochemical variation between species and found that: (1) related Acacia species were chemically dissimilar; (2) similarity percentage analysis revealed that Acacia grandicornuta was most dissimilar from other species and that the evergreen and unpalatable Euclea divinorum had a qualitatively similar chemical profile to the deciduous and palatable Acacia exuvialis and Combretum apiculatum; (3) C. apiculatum had the highest chemical diversity; (4) relative to spineless plants, spinescent plants contained significantly less HPLC phenolics and condensed tannins; and (5) the major quantitative difference between the evergreen and unpalatable E. divinorum and other species was its high myricitrin concentration.

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