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Phytochemistry. 2007 Aug;68(15):2112-7. Epub 2007 Jun 12.

Tetraena mongolica Maxim can accumulate large amounts of triacylglycerol in phloem cells and xylem parenchyma of stems.

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  • 1Key Laboratory of Photosynthesis and Environmental Molecular Physiology, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100093, China.


Tetraena mongolica Maxim is a narrowly monotypic genus of Zygophyllaceae found in a very limited area in the western part of Inner Mongolia, China. The plant is called "oil firewood" and its stems and branches are used as fuelwood. As triacylglycerol (TAG) is the main component of the plant oil, the TAG content was analyzed, as were the distribution of oleosomes in different tissues of the stem. This was in order to ascertain whether the term "oil firewood" referred to this storage lipid. Stems of T. mongolica indeed contained high levels of TAG (approximately 46 mg/g of dry matter or DM). The concentration of TAG in phloem (90 mg/g of DM) was much higher than that in xylem (20mg/g of DM), and semi-thin sections stained by Sudan Black B showed that almost all cells in the phloem contained oleosomes whereas in the xylem, oleosomes were found only in parenchymatous cells. These results suggest that T. mongolica has a high capacity to accumulate TAG in its stem cells.

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