Pirone, Cary , Lee, David , Quirke, Martin , Priestap, Horacio .
A Mammalian Pigment in the Plant Kingdom.
The Strelitziaceae is a small monocotyledonous family consisting of three genera, Ravenala, Phenakospermum, and Strelitzia. Each genus produces capsular fruits containing brightly colored arillate seeds. Earlier work demonstrated unusual chemical properties of the aril pigments. Here, using UV-VIS spectroscopy, mass spectrometry (MS), and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR), we present evidence that the pigment responsible for aril coloration in Strelitzia nicolai is bilirubin, an orange yellow tetrapyrrole commonly found in mammals. Although plants synthesize various tetrapyrrolic compounds including chlorophyll and heme, bilirubin has never been documented in plants. We discuss this finding in an evolutionary context, including data on aril pigments in Phenakospermum, Ravenala, and other species of Strelitzia.
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1 - Florida International University, Deparment of Biological Sciences, 11200 SW 8th St., Miami, Florida, 33199, USA
2 - The Kampong, National Tropical Botanical Garden, 4013 South Douglas Road, Miami, FL, 33155, USA
3 - Florida International University, Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry, 11200 SW 8th St., Miami, FL, 33199, USA
4 - Florida International University, Biology, 11200 SW 8 St., Miami, FL, 33199, USA
Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Date: Wednesday, July 30th, 2008
Time: 9:00 AM