Soluble and wall-bound phenolics and phenolic polymers in Musa acuminata roots exposed to elicitors from Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. cubense

Ana R F D C de Ascensao, Ian A Dubery
Phytochemistry 2003, 63 (6): 679-86
The accumulation of soluble and wall-bound phenolics and phenolic polymers in Musa acuminata roots exposed to cell wall-derived elicitor from the pathogen, Fusarium oxysporum, f.sp. cubense, race four, was investigated. The root tissue from the banana cultivar "Goldfinger" was found to respond strongly and rapidly towards the elicitor through the increased synthesis of phenolic compounds. Following elicitation, the conjugated and non-conjugated phenolic metabolites in the induced root tissue were extracted and quantified. Induced phenolic synthesis was rapid and reached near maximum values after 16 h. High-performance liquid chromatography revealed both compositional and quantitative differences between induced phenolics (p-coumaric, ferulic, and sinapic acids) and those constitutively present (p-coumaric- and ferulic acid). In addition, vanillic acid was found in the ester-bound fraction and protocatechuic acid in the cell-wall bound fraction of elicited tissue. The deposition and accumulation kinetics of polymerized phenolic monomers as lignin and lignin-like polymers was quantified over a time period of 0-36 h and found to reach maximum values after 24 h. Ionization difference UV spectra of lignin indicated compositional differences in the newly synthesized lignin fraction and correlated with increased concentrations of ferulic acid and sinapic acids esters. The results show that the increased flux through the phenylpropanoid pathway resulted in the synthesis of cinnamic acid and benzoic acid derivatives that were esterified and incorporated into the cell wall fraction as part of the anti-microbial defenses activated in the root tissue.

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