Secretory structures in Baccharis platypoda DC. inflorescences (Asteraceae) and characterization of the chemical composition of its secretion

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Plant Biol (Stuttg). 2024 Jun 4. doi: 10.1111/plb.13651. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

Rocky outcrop environments at high altitudes have nutrient-poor soil, where species are exposed to water scarcity and high solar radiation. Baccharis platypoda DC. occurs in such an environment and has a rigid and transparent secretion that covers the entire inflorescence. We analysed and compared the secretory structures and their chemical composition in female and male inflorescences of B. platypoda, a dioecious species, to explore chemodiversity within this species and assess potential differences between individuals. Our investigation also aims to understand the occurrence of these substances in the genus Baccharis L. Chemical compounds and secretory structures were similar in female and male inflorescences. There are glandular trichomes on the epidermis of the abaxial surface of bracts, and secretory ducts in the axis of the inflorescence, as well as in sepals, petals, and bracts. Histochemical tests were positive for phenolic compounds, flavonoids, proteins, pectin, and lipids, but not for mucilage. Flavonoid content varied between 6.24% and 9.81%, being higher in female inflorescences. Chromatography revealed the presence of several phenolic compounds, some terpenes, and other less frequent classes in both female and male inflorescences. We highlight that trichomes found on these surfaces produce abundant phenolic compounds. These act as natural defence agents, absorbing UV radiation and minimizing oxidative stress to plant cells. The chemical composition of the secretion covering the inflorescences may reflect adaptation and survival mechanisms of these organisms under extreme sun exposure.

PMID:38837312 | DOI:10.1111/plb.13651