2011 Volume 28 Issue 3 Pages 287-293
Lignans are phenylpropanoid dimers in which the monomers are linked by the central carbon (C8) atoms. Because many lignans have physiological effects, including antioxidant activity, they are now in demand as components in health foods. However, the lignan biosynthetic pathways in plants are only now being understood. Recently, lariciresinol was detected in Arabidopsis thaliana. This observation indicated the existence of common lignan biosynthetic pathways in A. thaliana, despite a low amount of lignans other than lariciresinol glycosides. In this study, we established a highly sensitive analytical method that enables quantification of both glycoside and aglycone forms of lignans in A. thaliana simultaneously using capillary liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-ion trap mass spectrometry. Some lignans not previously detected in A. thaliana were quantified in extracts of both roots and shoots. Our method can be used for the comprehensive analysis of lignans in small samples from mutants and transformants. This method will be utilized to elucidate the metabolic pathways and physiological roles of lignans as well as the regulation of their biosynthesis in plants.