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Research Journal of Botany
Year: 2015  |  Volume: 10  |  Issue: 2  |  Page No.: 37 - 49

Seed Ergastic Substances Profiling and its Implications for the Amaranthaceae-Chenopodiaceae Complex

Conrad A. Omonhinmin, Fisayo Y. Daramola and Macdonald Idu    

Abstract: The chemotaxonomic significance of ergastic substances that are aligned systematically to the Amaranthaceae-Chenopodiaceae group and their prospective applications, such as the use of its starch for food, health and industrial uses, were assessed in the present study employing species from four genera: Amaranthus (Amaranthaceae), Chenopodium, Atriplex and Suaeda (Chenopodiaceae). Alkaloids, fats, oils, inulin, protein and starch profiles of the taxa studied generated three groups using Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and four clusters using Cluster Analysis (CA). The resultant groups and clusters showed the species did not segregate across traditional lines but aligned with taxa outside genus and family borders. The species Chenopodium botrys and Chenopodium polyspermum were most divergent, constituting a separate group and clusters. The majority of the species segregated as a primary group/cluster, showing close affinities between members of both families; hence, the Amaranthaceae-Chenopodiaceae group can be regarded as a mono-paraphyletic group. Alkaloids were recorded only in Chenopodiaceae taxa and betalains only in Amaranthaceae which presupposes that taxonomic relevant ergastic substances demarcation lines may exist to delimit the families. In addition, these ergastics substances showcase the taxa potential food, health and industrial applications. The Amaranthaceae-Chenopodiaceae starch granule is small in size (0.7-5.4 μm), circular in shape (poorly irregular) and lacks hilium and striations. The small-size granule will be invaluable for a number of prospective food and health uses, principally for low glycemic load foods for diabetics, as well as numerous industrial uses, such as producing environmentally friendly biodegradable plastics as alternatives to petrochemicals.

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