Plant Molecular Biology Reporter

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 369–376

An improved RNA isolation method for succulent plant species rich in polyphenols and polysaccharides

  • H. H. Gehrig
  • K. Winter
  • J. Cushman
  • A. Borland
  • T. Taybi


Isolation of high quality, high molecular weight RNA from plant tissues is complicated by high levels of polyphenols and polysaccharides which bind to and/or co-precipitate with RNA. Using high molecular weight polyethylene glycol (HMW-PEG), RNA was successfully isolated from plant species in which other RNA extraction methods and commercially available kits failed to deliver suitable results. We tested various buffer systems and isolation conditions with and without PEG or PVP (polyvinylpyrrolidone) using tissue from species ofAloe, Ananas, Clusia, Euphorbia, Kalanchoe, Opuntia, andPyrrosia, all of which contain high amounts of phenolic compounds and/or polysaccharides. HMW-PEG was found to be more effective than PVP in removing these compounds. RNA extraction using HMW-PEG resulted in RNA of high quality from all species investigated, as indicated by UV light absorption profiles, and also yielded PCR amplification products after reverse transcription.

Key words

Aloe Ananas Clusia crassulacean acid metabolism Euphorbia Kalanchoe Opuntia phenolic compounds Pyrrosia RNA extraction 



crassulacean acid metabolism




ethidium bromide


fresh weight


guanidinium hydrochloride


guanidinium isothiocyanate


high-molecular-weight polyethylene glycol








room temperature


reverse-transcription-polymerase chain reaction






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Copyright information

© Springer 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. H. Gehrig
    • 1
  • K. Winter
    • 1
  • J. Cushman
    • 2
  • A. Borland
    • 3
  • T. Taybi
    • 3
  1. 1.Smithsonian Tropical Research InstituteBalboaRepublic of Panama
  2. 2.University of Nevada, MS200RenoUSA
  3. 3.Dept. of Agricultural and Environmental SciencesUniversity of NewcastleNewcastle upon TyneU.K.

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