Pollen from five cultivars of pecans [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch] was analyzed for cytoplasmic lipid classes and constituent fatty acids. Lipid classes in all cultivars included free fatty acids, triglycerides, and the phosphatide of inositol, serine, choline, glycerol, and ethanolamine. Triglycerides were the predominant class of lipids in all cultivars analyzed. Gas chromatography and mass spectral analysis were used to identify and quantify the fatty acids, which included palmitic, stearic, oleic, linoleic, and linolenic. Quantities of individual and total fatty acids varied greatly and were influenced significantly by cultivar, year, and location, as well as by interactions of main effects The percent composition of individual fatty acids was remarkably stable, despite wide variation in quantities of fatty acids. Therefore, pollen fatty acid ratios may be a valuable measure of taxonomic relationship across Carya sp. Total fatty acids varied from 2.53% to 0.25% of dry weight. Variability in stored energy in the form of lipids may affect orchard production.
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