Advertisement

Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 19, Issue 9, pp 1861–1874 | Cite as

Foliar phenolics of nebraska sandhills prairie graminoids: Between-years, seasonal, and interspecific variation

  • Simon Mole
  • Anthony Joern
Article

Abstract

Because of their potential as antiherbivore defenses, plant phenolics elicit considerable attention. We made quantitative and qualitative analyses of phenolics, alkaloids, cyanogenic glycosides, and saponins in the dominant graminoids of a Nebraska Sandhills prairie. We examined the foliage of seven species:Agropyron smithii Rydb.,Andropogon hallii Hack.,Andropogon scoparius Michx.,Bouteloua gracilis (H.B.K) Lag. ex Griffiths,Calamovilfa longifolia (Hook.) Scribn.,Carex heliophila Mack., andStipa comata Trin & Rupr. Their leaves contain low levels of phenolics that vary significantly among species. A more detailed examination of the three species with the highest levels of phenolics showed among-year, seasonal, and spatial heterogeneity in the levels of total phenolics. In all seven species, the majority of the specific phenolics present have the Chromatographic properties of phenylpropanoids and are likely to be present as sugar-linked derivatives such as free glycosides or cell wall-bound phenolics. These species do not contain condensed tannins. The absence of other common kinds of secondary metabolites indicates that these graminoids are unlikely to have significant chemical defenses, at least in terms of substances likely to be active against mammalian herbivores. In this, they exemplify the situation thought typical for prairie graminoids.

Key Words

Phenolics seasonal variation graminoids 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Barnes, P.W., andHarrison, A.T. 1982. Species distribution and community organization in a Nebraska Sandhills mixed prairie as influenced by plant/soil water relationships.Oecologia 52:192–201.Google Scholar
  2. Bryant, J.P., Chapin, F.S., III, andKlein, D.R. 1983. Carbon/nutrient balance of boreal plants in relation to vertebrate herbivory.Oikos 40:357–368.Google Scholar
  3. Burke, I.C., Kittel, T.G.F., Laurenroth, W.K., Snook, P., Yonker, C.M., andParton, W.J. 1991. Regional analysis of the central great plains: sensitivity to climate variability.Bioscience 41:685–692.Google Scholar
  4. Caldwell, M.M. 1981. Plant responses to solar ultraviolet radiation, pp. 170–197,in O.L. Lange, P.S. Nobel, C.B. Osmond and H. Ziegler (eds.). Encyclopaedia of Plant Physiology: Physiological Plant Ecology I. Springer-Verlag, New York.Google Scholar
  5. Chapin, F.S., Shaver, G.R., andKedrowski, R.A. 1986. Environmental controls over carbon and phosphorous fractions inEriophorum vaginatum in Alaskan Tussock Tundra.J. Ecol. 74:167–195.Google Scholar
  6. Corcuera, L. 1989. Indole alkaloids fromPhlaris and other graminae, pp. 123–178,in P.R. Cheeke (ed.). Toxicants of Plant Origin, Vol. I. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida.Google Scholar
  7. Darnley-Gibbs, R.D. 1974. Chemotaxonomy of flowering plants. McGill-Queen's University Press, Montreal.Google Scholar
  8. Fahey, G.C., andJung, H.J.G. 1989. Phenolic compounds in forages and fibrous feedstuffs, pp. 123–190,in P.R. Cheeke (ed.). Toxicants of Plant Origin, Vol. IV. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida.Google Scholar
  9. Feeny, P.P. 1968. Effect of oak leaf tannin on larval growth of the Winter MothOperoptera brumata.J. Insect Physiol. 14:805–817.Google Scholar
  10. Feigl, F., andAnger, V.A. 1966. Test paper for hydrogen cyanide.Analyst 91:282–285.Google Scholar
  11. French, N.R. 1979. Perspectives in Grassland Ecology. Springer-Verlag, New York.Google Scholar
  12. Gartlan, S.J., McKey, D.B., Waterman, P.G., Mbi, C.N., andStrusaker, T.T. 1980. A comparative study of the phytochemistry of two African rainforests.Biochem. Syst. Ecol. 8:401–422.Google Scholar
  13. Harborne, J.B. 1984. Phytochemical methods: A guide to modern techniques of plant analysis. Chapman and Hall, London.Google Scholar
  14. Harborne, J.B. 1988. Introduction to Ecological Biochemistry. Academic Press, London.Google Scholar
  15. Haskins, F.A., andGorz, H.J. 1988. Independent inheritance of genes for dhurrin and leucoanthocyanidin in a sorghum cross.Crop Sci. 28:864–865.Google Scholar
  16. Hemken, R.W., andBush, L.P. 1989. Toxic alkaloids associated with tall fescue toxicosis, pp. 281–290,in P.R. Cheeke (ed.). Toxicants of Plant Origin, Vol. I. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida.Google Scholar
  17. Horner, J.D. 1990. Nonlinear effects of water deficits on foliar tannin concentration.Biochem. Syst. Ecol. 18:211–213.Google Scholar
  18. Janzen, D., andWaterman, P.G. 1984. A seasonal census of phenolics, fibre and alkaloids in foliage of forest trees in Costa Rica: some factors influencing their distribution and relation to host selection by Sphingidae and Saturnidae.Biol. J. Linn. Soc. 21:439–454.Google Scholar
  19. Jonasson, S., Bryant, J.P., Chapin, F.S., III, andAndersson, M. 1986. Plant phenols and nutrients in relation to variations in climate and rodent grazing.Am. Nat. 128:394–408.Google Scholar
  20. Jung, H.-J.G., Batzli, G.O., andSiegler, D.S. 1979. Patterns in the phytochemistry of arctic plants.Biochem. Syst. Ecol. 7:203–209.Google Scholar
  21. Kaul, R.B. 1975. Vegetation of Nebraska (map). Conservation and Survey, Lincoln, Nebraska.Google Scholar
  22. Marks, D.L., Swain, T., Goldstein, S., Richard, A., andLeighton, M. 1988. Chemical correlates of rhesus monkey food choices.J. Chem. Ecol. 14:213–235.Google Scholar
  23. Mauffette, Y., andOechel, W.C. 1989. Seasonal variation in leaf chemistry of the coast live oakQuercus agrifolia and implications for the California oak mothPhryganidia californica.Oecologia 79:439–445.Google Scholar
  24. McNaughton, S.J. 1983. Physiological and ecological implications of herbivory, pp. 270–298,in O.L. Lange, P.S. Nobel, C.B. Osmond, and H. Ziegler (eds.). Encyclopaedia of Plant Physiology: Physiological Plant Ecology III. Springer-Verlag, New York.Google Scholar
  25. Mole, S., Butler, L.G., Hagerman, A.E., andWaterman, P.G. 1989. Ecological tannin assays: A critique.Oecologia 78:93–96.Google Scholar
  26. Mulvena, D.P., andSlaytor, M. 1982. Separation of tryptophan derivatives inPhlaris aquatica by thin layer chromatography.J. Chromatogr. 245:155–161.Google Scholar
  27. Owen, D.F., andWiegert, R.G. 1981. Mutualism between grass and grazers: An evolutionary hypothesis.Oikos 36:376–378.Google Scholar
  28. Price, M.L., andButler, L.G. 1977. Rapid visual estimation and spectrophotometric determination of tannin content of sorghum grain.J. Agric. Food Chem. 25:1268–1273.Google Scholar
  29. Redak, R.A. 1987. Forage quality: Secondary chemistry of grasses, pp. 100–111,in J.L. Carpinera (ed.). Integrated Pest Management on Rangeland: A Shortgrass Prairie Perspective. Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado.Google Scholar
  30. Rhoades, D.F. 1977. Integrated antiherbivore, antidesiccant and ultraviolet screening properties of creosote bush resin.Blochem. Syst. Ecol. 5:281–290.Google Scholar
  31. Rhoades, D.F., andCates, R. 1976. Towards a general theory of plant antiherbivore chemistry.Recent Adv. Phytochem. 10:168–213.Google Scholar
  32. Tempel, M.S. 1981. Field studies of the relationship between herbivore damage and tannin concentration in brackenPteridium aquilinum Kuhn.Oecologia 51:97–106.Google Scholar
  33. Waterman, P.G., andMole, S. 1989. Extrinsic factors influencing production of secondary metabolites in plants, pp. 107–134,in E.A. Bernays (ed.). Plant-Insect Interactions. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida.Google Scholar
  34. Waterman, P.G., Choo, G.M., Vedder, A.L., andWatts, D. 1983. Digestibility, digestion inhibitors and nutrients of herbaceous foliage and green stems from an African montane flora and comparison with other tropical flora.Oecologia 60:244–249.Google Scholar
  35. Weaver, J.E. 1965. Native Vegetation of Nebraska. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, Nebraska.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simon Mole
    • 1
  • Anthony Joern
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincoln

Personalised recommendations