Distribution of norditerpene alkaloids in tall larkspur plant parts through the growing season
Ralphs, M.H. | Gardner, D.R.
Previous research showed that toxic and total alkaloid pools in tall larkspur (Delphinium barbeyi) increased during early growth, then declined precipitously during the late flower and pod stage of growth. The objective of this study was to measure the concentration and pools of toxic and total alkaloids in tall larkspur plant parts, including roots, and to evaluate the changes in these pools over the growing season as an estimate of diterpenoid alkaloid kinetics in tall larkspur. Twenty entire plants were harvested at each phenological stage: beginning of growth in the spring, early flower, early pod, late pod, and senescence. The plants were separated into their respective parts, freeze-dried, extracted, and analyzed for toxic and total alkaloid concentration, and alkaloid pools were calculated. Concentration of toxic and total alkaloids in leaves and stems declined as the plants matured, while concentration in flowers and pods increased (P < 0.004). Concentration of alkaloids in the root declined in the early growth, then increased at the end of the season (P = 0.002). Alkaloid pools in the root decreased during early growth, with a corresponding increase of pools in foliar parts. In the late flower and pod stage, alkaloid pools in the leaves and stems declined rapidly, while the pool in the crown and roots tended to increase.Show more [+] Less [-]