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Am J Bot. 2004 Dec;91(12):1969-80. doi: 10.3732/ajb.91.12.1969.

Chemical composition of anther volatiles in Ranunculaceae: genera-specific profiles in Anemone, Aquilegia, Caltha, Pulsatilla, Ranunculus, and Trollius species.

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Department of Plant Systematics, University of Bayreuth, D-95440 Bayreuth, Germany.


Anther volatiles of 12 Ranunculaceae species distributed in six genera (Anemone, Aquilegia, Caltha, Pulsatilla, Ranunculus, and Trollius) were investigated by thermal desorption of anthers in quartz microvials inserted into a modified injector. Chemical analysis (GC-MS) yielded a total of 116 compounds from which 103 compounds could be identified. A great diversity of compounds was observed, including aliphatic compounds, aromatics, mono- and sesquiterpenoids, and nitrogen-bearing compounds. Intraspecific variation in the chemical profiles was significantly lower than interspecific variation. Eight compounds explained 96.1% of the observed total variation between the taxa: protoanemonin, octanal, (E,E)-α-farnesene, 2-phenyl ethanol, pentadecane, α-muurolene, phenyl acetaldehyde, and linalool oxide (pyranoid) were either present only in specific taxa or varied greatly in their relative amount between the taxa. An analysis of the scent data using the chord-normalized expected species shared (CNESS) distances of chemical profiles of the species, followed by visualization of the data with nonmetric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) showed that most species belonging to the same genus have similar chemical compositions. The differences in the chemical composition of anther volatiles are discussed with respect to the taxonomy and pollination biology of the species.

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