Alternatives to Chromatography in Plant Breeding


  • Michael Keusgen Philipps-Universität Marburg, Institute of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Marbacher Weg 6, D-35032 Marburg, Germany



biosensors, polyphenols, cysteine sulfoxides, cyanogenic glycosides


Wild plants were taken into cultivation because of special features. Usually, medicinal plants or spices show distinct secondary metabolites combined with a specific pattern of these compounds. Typically, chromatographic methods like gas chromatography (GC) or high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) were applied as standard methods for a meaningful analysis of secondary metabolites. However, these methods are labor and time intensive. In the breeding process, usually numerous single plants have to be analyzed and therefore, high throughput methods are required. In this article, some examples for alternative strategies are given. Besides spectroscopic methods like near infrared (NIR), also biosensoric approaches should be considered. For instance, several enzymes can oxidize or hydrolyze secondary metabolites in dependence of their functional groups. Polyphenols can be determined by laccases. Polyphenols like catechins and flavonoids contribute to the bioactivity of many medicinal plants. Also cysteine sulfoxides, which are typical for Allium species like garlic and onions, can be enzymatically determined with high specificity. Finally, toxic cyanogenic glycosides can be quantified by the enzyme cyanidase.