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Lipids. 2000 Jan;35(1):1-22.

General characteristics of Pinus spp. seed fatty acid compositions, and importance of delta5-olefinic acids in the taxonomy and phylogeny of the genus.

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ISTAB, Université Bordeaux 1, Talence, France.


The delta5-unsaturated polymethylene-interrupted fatty acid (delta5-UPIFA) contents and profiles of gymnosperm seeds are useful chemometric data for the taxonomy and phylogeny of that division, and these acids may also have some biomedical or nutritional applications. We recapitulate here all data available on pine (Pinus; the largest genus in the family Pinaceae) seed fatty acid (SFA) compositions, including 28 unpublished compositions. This overview encompasses 76 species, subspecies, and varieties, which is approximately one-half of all extant pines officially recognized at these taxon levels. Qualitatively, the SFA from all pine species analyzed so far are identical. The genus Pinus is coherently united--but this qualitative feature can be extended to the whole family Pinaceae--by the presence of delta5-UPIFA with C18 [taxoleic (5,9-18:2) and pinolenic (5,9,12-18:3) acids] and C20 chains [5,11-20:2, and sciadonic (5,11,14-20:3) acids]. Not a single pine species was found so far with any of these acids missing. Linoleic acid is almost always, except in a few cases, the prominent SFA, in the range 40-60% of total fatty acids. The second habitual SFA is oleic acid, from 12 to 30%. Exceptions, however, occur, particularly in the Cembroides subsection, where oleic acid reaches ca. 45%, a value higher than that of linoleic acid. Alpha-linolenic acid, on the other hand, is a minor constituent of pine SFA, almost always less than 1%, but that would reach 2.7% in one species (P. merkusii). The sum of saturated acids [16:0 (major) and 18:0 (minor) acids principally] is most often less than 10% of total SFA, and anteiso-17:0 acid is present in all species in amounts up to 0.3%. Regarding C18 delta5-UPIFA, taxoleic acid reaches a maximum of 4.5% of total SFA, whereas pinolenic acid varies from 0.1 to 25.3%. The very minor coniferonic (5,9,12,15-18:4) acid is less than 0.2% in all species. The C20 elongation product of pinolenic acid, bishomo-pinolenic (7,11,14-20:3) acid, is a frequent though minor SFA constituent (maximum, 0.7%). When considering C20 delta5-UPIFA, a difference is noted between the subgenera Strobus and Pinus. In the former subgenus, 5,11-20:2 and sciadonic acids are < or =0.3 and < or =1.9%, respectively, whereas in the latter subgenus, they are most often > or =0.3 and > or =2.0%, respectively. The highest values for 5,11-20:2 and sciadonic acids are 0.5% (many species) and 7.0% (P. pinaster). The 5,11,14,17-20:4 (juniperonic) acid is present occasionally in trace amounts. The highest level of total delta5-UPIFA is 30-31% (P. sylvestris), and the lowest level is 0.6% (P. monophylla). Uniting as well as discriminating features that may complement the knowledge about the taxonomy and phylogeny of pines are emphasized.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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