Tocopherol—An intrinsic component of sunflower seed oil bodies

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Abstract

Oil bodies were removed from mature sunflower through wet grinding followed by filtration then centrifugation and recovered as the buoyant fraction. Washing this fraction with buffer (water-washed oil bodies, WWOB) or 9 M urea (urea-washed oil bodies, UWOB) resulted in the removal of extraneous proteins. SDS-PAGE of the proteins still associated with the oil body fraction after washing indicated that this effect was particularly dramatic with urea washing. Thirty-eight percent of the total seed tocopherol was recovered in WWOB after only one cycle of oil body recovery. The total phenolic content (TPC) of differentially washed sunflower seed oil bodies was used as a marker for the nonspecific association of phenolic compounds to oil bodies. This value decreased with increased removal of proteins from oil bodies, whereas the converse was true for tocopherol values, which increased from 214 mg total tocopherol kg−1 WWOB [dry wt basis (dwb)] to 392 mg total tocopherol kg−1 UWOB (dwb). The ratio of the four tocopherol isomers remained constant in the seed and oil body preparations (α:β:γ:δ approximately 94∶5∶0.5∶0.5). This work provides evidence that an intrinsic population of tocopherol molecules exists in the oil bodies of mature sunflower seeds.