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Plant pressure sensitive adhesives: similar chemical properties in distantly related plant lineages

Abstract

Main conclusion

A mixture of resins based on aliphatic esters and carboxylic acids occurs in distantly related genera Peperomia and Roridula , serving different functions as adhesion in seed dispersal and prey capture.

According to mechanical characteristics, adhesive secretions on both leaves of the carnivorous flypaper Roridula gorgonias and epizoochorous fruits of Peperomia polystachya were expected to be similar. The chemical analysis of these adhesives turned out to be challenging because of the limited available mass for analysis. Size exclusion chromatography and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy were suitable methods for the identification of a mixture of compounds, most appropriately containing natural resins based on aliphatic esters and carboxylic acids. The IR spectra of the Peperomia and Roridula adhesive resemble each other; they correspond to that of a synthetic ethylene–vinyl acetate copolymer, but slightly differ from that of natural tree resins. Thus, the pressure sensitive adhesive properties of the plant adhesives are chemically proved. Such adhesives seem to appear independently in distantly related plant lineages, habitats, life forms, as well as plant organs, and serve different functions such as prey capture in Roridula and fruit dispersal in Peperomia. However, more detailed chemical analyses still remain challenging because of the small available volume of plant adhesive.

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Acknowledgments

D. Fietsch, B. Ditsch and colleagues (Botanical Garden, Technische Universität, Dresden, Germany) are acknowledged for cultivation of plants. K. Keller (Augsburg, Germany) kindly provided plants and valuable information. We thank the anonymous reviewer for the helpful comments.

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Correspondence to Dagmar Voigt.

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Frenzke, L., Lederer, A., Malanin, M. et al. Plant pressure sensitive adhesives: similar chemical properties in distantly related plant lineages. Planta 244, 145–154 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00425-016-2496-4

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Keywords

  • Carnivory
  • Epizoochory
  • FTIR
  • Peperomia polystachya
  • Resin
  • Roridula gorgonias