Lignans in seeds of Linum species

Thomas J Schmidt, Michael Klaes, Jandirk Sendker
Phytochemistry 2012, 82: 89-99
Mature seeds of 20 Linum species were analyzed for their content of lignans. The seeds of common flax (Linum usitatissimum L.) are known to contain as characteristic lignan sesoisolariciresinol diglucoside (SDG), whose presence in seeds of some other Linum species has also been reported. In order to investigate the material for the presence of such very polar lignans as well as for less polar non-glycosidic lignans as frequently found in aerial parts of Linum species, polar and non-polar extracts of each sample were analyzed by HPLC/ESI-MSMS. SDG was detected in 15 of 16 investigated seed samples of taxa representing sections Linum and Dasylinum. None of eight samples of taxa from sections Syllinum and Linopsis contained detectable amounts of SDG. Quite interestingly, most of the SDG-positive samples contained the 8R,8'R-isomer exclusively while only three (including L. usitatissimum) contained the 8S,8'S-stereoisomer as the predominant form. As a most noteworthy finding, the dichloromethane extracts obtained from seeds of several Linum species were found to contain significant concentrations of non-polar cyclolignans of the arylnaphthalene/-dihydronaphthalene lactone type or, alternatively of the aryltetralin lactone type. Thus, seeds of Linum perenne L. as well as those of several other representatives of sections Linum and Dasylinum were found to contain significant concentrations of the arylnaphthalene justicidin B along with further compounds of this type and some aryldihydronaphthalene-type lignans. On the other hand, seeds of Linum flavum and further representatives of section Syllinum were found to contain aryltetralin-type lignans, mainly in the form of esters with aliphatic carboxylic acids, such as 6-methoxypodophyllotoxin-7-O-n-hexanoate, whose occurrence in L. flavum seeds has very recently been reported by us for the first time. Various chemosystematic and biogenetic aspects are discussed in the light of these results.


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