Original Article

Lipids

, Volume 46, Issue 3, pp 263-270

First online:

The Absolute Configurations of Hydroxy Fatty Acids from the Royal Jelly of Honeybees (Apis mellifera)

  • Tetsuya KodaiAffiliated withFaculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Setsunan University
  • , Takafumi NakataniAffiliated withFaculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Setsunan University
  • , Naoki NodaAffiliated withFaculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Setsunan University Email author 

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Abstract

9-Hydroxy-2E-decenoic acid (9-HDA) is a precursor of the queen-produced substance, 9-oxo-2E-decenoic acid (9-ODA), which has various important functions and roles for caste maintenance in honeybee colonies (Apis mellifera). 9-HDA in royal jelly is considered to be a metabolite of 9-ODA produced by worker bees, and it is fed back to the queen who then transforms it into 9-ODA. Recently we found that 9-HDA is present in royal jelly as a mixture of optical isomers (R:S, 2:1). The finding leads us to suspect that chiral fatty acids in royal jelly are precursors of semiochemicals. Rather than looking for semiochemicals in the mandibular glands of the queen bee, this study involves the search for precursors of pheromones from large quantities of royal jelly. Seven chiral hydroxy fatty acids, 9,10-dihydroxy-2E-decenoic, 4,10-dihydroxy-2E-decenoic, 4,9-dihydroxy-2E-decenoic, 3-hydroxydecanoic, 3,9-dihydroxydecanoic, 3,11-dihydroxydodecanoic, and 3,10-dihydroxydecanoic acids were isolated. The absolute configurations of these acids were determined using the modified Mosher’s method, and it was revealed that, similar to 9-HDA, five acids are present in royal jelly as mixtures of optical isomers.

Keywords

Absolute configuration Apis mellifera Honeybees Hydroxy fatty acid Modified Mosher’s method Royal jelly