Seasonal changes in the concentrations of four taxoids in Taxus baccata L. during the autumn-spring period
Abstract: The concentrations of four common taxoids: baccatin III, paclitaxel, cephalomannine and 10-deacetylbaccatin III (10-DAB III) were measured in fresh needles and stems of Taxus baccata L. during the late autumn-spring period (November '96 - April '97) which has not been investigated to date in this species. Baccatin III, paclitaxel and 10-DAB III were present on the surface of the twigs in concentrations of 8-26 mg/1000 g (fresh weight). Changes in the levels of baccatin III and paclitaxel inside the needles and stems showed similar trends over the investigated period. From November to March the total level of taxoids differed between the needles and stems, and were the same only in April. Total levels in fresh needles were stable from December to March. The highest concentrations of 10-DAB 111 in the whole analysed period in fresh stems were measured, as well as in the fresh needles except for samples collected in November and December when the levels of cephalomannine were higher. The concentrations of paclitaxel were usually the lowest. These results confirm that epigenetic factors - date of collection (and thus phyllogenesis) and kind of plant tissue - determine taxoid levels during the late autumn-spring period in T baccata. The opposite patterns of changes for 10-DAB III and cephalomannine, especially in the fresh needles, suggest a possible role for 10-DAB 111 in the biosynthetic pathway to cephalomannine, a less polar taxoid with a side-chain at position C-13. As well, owing to the thermolability of taxoids, the influence of low temperatures in December and January could explain the highest observed concentrations of 10-DAB 111 in the fresh stems and needles, respectively.
Keyword(s): Taxoids (baccatin III