, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 246-250

Taxonomic discrimination of flowering plants by multivariate analysis of Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy data

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Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) provides biochemical profiles containing overlapping signals from a majority of the compounds that are present when whole cells are analyzed. Leaf samples of seven higher plant species and varieties were subjected to FTIR to determine whether plants can be discriminated phylogenetically on the basis of biochemical profiles. A hierarchical dendrogram based on principal component analysis (PCA) of FTIR data showed relationships between plants that were in agreement with known plant taxonomy. Genetic programming (GP) analysis determined the top three to five biomarkers from FTIR data that discriminated plants at each hierarchical level of the dendrogram. Most biomarkers determined by GP analysis at each hierarchical level were specific to the carbohydrate fingerprint region (1,200–800 cm−1) of the FTIR spectrum. Our results indicate that differences in cell-wall composition and structure can provide the basis for chemotaxonomy of flowering plants.

Communicated by J.M. Widholm