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  • Author or Editor: Joseph K. Peterson x
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After removal of the periderm, cortex tissue of the sweetpotato cultivar Regal was collected. Polar extracts of this tissue strongly inhibited germination of proso-millet seed. C18 preparative, step-gradient chromatography (H2O → 100% methanol) gave some 50+ fractions, all of which were assayed for inhibitory properties. Analytical HPLC, using diode array detection and signal processing, showed the presence of chlorogenic, p-coumaric and caffeic acid, scopolin and some unknown phenolic acids. Most fractions were inhibitory to some degree; however, the least polar ones (in 90% and 100% methanol), containing unknown compounds, were most inhibitory. Semi-prep HPLC of these fractions produced eight major peaks (λmax at 210–213 nm, λ2 at 281–284 nm). In our bioassays, the compounds produced 50% inhibition of proso-millet seed germination at ≈60 ppm. It is likely that these compounds contribute significantly to the allelopathic properties of sweetpotato.

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Bioasssay-guided investigation of constituents possibly contributing to the allelopathic potential of sweetpotato led to the isolation of a nonpolar seed germination inhibitor in sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas L.) roots. Mass spectral data supported by HPLC s pectroscopic analyses and data obtained from hydrolysis products revealed the presence of three monogalactosyl-diglycerides (MGDGs) (galactosyl-di-linoleneoyl glyceride, galactosyl-linoleneoyl-linoleoyl glyceride, and galactosyl-di-linoleoyl glyceride) in storage roots. The compounds inhibited proso millet germination, and at 100 ppm inhibition was about 90%. MGDG with fully saturated fatty acids (galactosyl-distearoyl glyceride) was not inhibitory in the bioassay. An efficient method for quantitation of individual MGDGs was developed, and the contents of each compound in the storage root tissues of 12 genetically diverse cultivars and breeding lines were determined. On a dry weight basis, total MGDG contents ranged between 107 and 452 μg/g in the periderm, 298 and 807 μg/g in the cortex, and 296 and 755 μg/g in the stele. Also, large differences in the ratios of the three compounds between clones and between tissues within a clone were noted. The differences between clones indicate that manipulating total content and ratios of MGDGs through plant breeding is feasible.

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Sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.] periderm components were tested for their effect on four fungi that infect sweetpotato roots: Fusarium oxysporum Schlecht. f. sp. batatas (Wollenw.) Snyd. & Hans. and F. solani (Sacc.) Mart., both of which cause stem and root disease; and Lasiodiplodea theobromae (Pat.) Griffon & Maubl. and Rhizopus stolonifer (Ehr. ex Fr.) Lind., both of which cause storage root disease. Sequential extracts of `Regal' sweetpotato periderm with hexane, methanol, and 50% methanol were inhibitory to the four fungi when incorporated into potato dextrose agar medium in petri dish bioassays. The methanol and 50% methanol extracts were much more active than the hexane extract and were combined for further study. Sephadex LH-20 column chromatography of the combined extracts, followed by bioassay with F. oxysporum indicated that the most inhibitory fraction contained the least polar components of the extract. Resin glycosides isolated from `Regal' periderm inhibited F. oxysporum, but the glycosides exhibited little concentration effect and were not as active on a tissue weight basis as other components. Periderm extracts from 10 sweetpotato clones exhibited large differences in inhibitory activity in bioassays with the four fungi. The sensitivity of the fungi to inhibition by the periderm extracts suggests that periderm components may provide protection against soil pathogens, but a relationship between such components and disease resistance was not established.

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Periderm and cortex tissues of 14 genetically diverse sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.] clones were grown under low stress conditions and analyzed for their content of scopoletin ((7-hydroxy-6-methoxycoumarin) and scopolin (7-glucosylscopoletin). A wide range of concentrations of both compounds was found in both tissues. The two compounds were tested in vitro for their biological activity (concentration-activity relationships) using several bio assays: germination of proso-millet (Panicum milliaceum L.) seed; mycelial growth of the sweetpotato fungal pathogens Fusarium oxysporum Schlecht. f. sp. batatas (Wollenw.) Snyd. & Hans, F. solani (Sacc.) Mart., Lasiodiplodia theobromae (Pat.) Griffon & Maubl., and Rhizopus stolonifer (Ehr. ex Fr.) Lind; and growth and mortality of diamondback moth[Plutella xylostella (L.)] larvae on artificial diet. The glycoside scopolin showed little activity, except moderate inhibition of F. oxysporum. The aglycone scopoletin inhibited seed germination and larval growth; however, at much higher concentrations than were measured in the tissues. Mycelial growth of the four pathogenic fungi, however, was inhibited at concentrations occurring in some sweetpotato clones.

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