To investigate the pathways of introduction of the African baobab, Adansonia digitata, to the Indian subcontinent, we examined 10 microsatellite loci in individuals from Africa, India, the Mascarenes and Malaysia, and matched this with historical evidence of human interactions between source and destination regions. Genetic analysis showed broad congruence of African clusters with biogeographic regions except along the Zambezi (Mozambique) and Kilwa (Tanzania), where populations included a mixture of individuals assigned to at least two different clusters. Individuals from West Africa, the Mascarenes, southeast India and Malaysia shared a cluster. Baobabs from western and central India clustered separately from Africa. Genetic diversity was lower in populations from the Indian subcontinent than in African populations, but the former contained private alleles. Phylogenetic analysis showed Indian populations were closest to those from the Mombasa-Dar es Salaam coast. The genetic results provide evidence of multiple introductions of African baobabs to the Indian subcontinent over a longer time period than previously assumed. Individuals belonging to different genetic clusters in Zambezi and Kilwa may reflect the history of trafficking captives from inland areas to supply the slave trade between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries. Baobabs in the Mascarenes, southeast India and Malaysia indicate introduction from West Africa through eighteenth and nineteenth century European colonial networks.
Bioinformatics analyses of caleosin/peroxygenases (CLO/PXG) demonstrated that these genes are present in the vast majority of Viridiplantae taxa for which sequence data are available. Functionally active CLO/PXG proteins with roles in abiotic stress tolerance and lipid droplet storage are present in some Trebouxiophycean and Chlorophycean green algae but are absent from the small number of sequenced Prasinophyceaen genomes. CLO/PXG-like genes are expressed during dehydration stress in Charophyte algae, a sister clade of the land plants (Embryophyta). CLO/PXG-like sequences are also present in all of the >300 sequenced Embryophyte genomes, where some species contain as many as 10-12 genes that have arisen via selective gene duplication. Angiosperm genomes harbour at least one copy each of two distinct CLO/PX isoforms, termed H (high) and L (low), where H-forms contain an additional C-terminal motif of about 30-50 residues that is absent from L-forms. In contrast, species in other Viridiplantae taxa, including green algae, non-vascular plants, ferns and gymnosperms, contain only one (or occasionally both) of these isoforms per genome. Transcriptome and biochemical data show that CLO/PXG-like genes have complex patterns of developmental and tissue-specific expression. CLO/PXG proteins can associate with cytosolic lipid droplets and/or bilayer membranes. Many of the analysed isoforms also have peroxygenase activity and are involved in oxylipin metabolism. The distribution of CLO/PXG-like genes is consistent with an origin >1 billion years ago in at least two of the earliest diverging groups of the Viridiplantae, namely the Chlorophyta and the Streptophyta, after the Viridiplantae had already diverged from other Archaeplastidal groups such as the Rhodophyta and Glaucophyta. While algal CLO/PXGs have roles in lipid packaging and stress responses, the Embryophyte proteins have a much wider spectrum of roles and may have been instrumental in the colonisation of terrestrial habitats and the subsequent diversification as the major land flora.
The diacylglycerol acyltransferases (DGAT) (diacylglycerol:acyl-CoA acyltransferase, EC 220.127.116.11) are a key group of enzymes that catalyse the final and usually the most important rate-limiting step of triacylglycerol biosynthesis in plants and other organisms. Genes encoding four distinct functional families of DGAT enzymes have been characterised in the genome of the African oil palm, Elaeis guineensis. The contrasting features of the various isoforms within the four families of DGAT genes, namely DGAT1, DGAT2, DGAT3 and WS/DGAT are presented both in the oil palm itself and, for comparative purposes, in 12 other oil crop or model/related plants, namely Arabidopsis thaliana, Brachypodium distachyon, Brassica napus, Elaeis oleifera, Glycine max, Gossypium hirsutum, Helianthus annuus, Musa acuminata, Oryza sativa, Phoenix dactylifera, Sorghum bicolor, and Zea mays. The oil palm genome contains respectively three, two, two and two distinctly expressed functional copies of the DGAT1, DGAT2, DGAT3 and WS/DGAT genes. Phylogenetic analyses of the four DGAT families showed that the E. guineensis genes tend to cluster with sequences from P. dactylifera and M. acuminata rather than with other members of the Commelinid monocots group, such as the Poales which include the major cereal crops such as rice and maize. Comparison of the predicted DGAT protein sequences with other animal and plant DGATs was consistent with the E. guineensis DGAT1 being ER located with its active site facing the lumen while DGAT2, although also ER located, had a predicted cytosol-facing active site. In contrast, DGAT3 and some (but not all) WS/DGAT in E. guineensis are predicted to be soluble, cytosolic enzymes. Evaluation of E. guineensis DGAT gene expression in different tissues and developmental stages suggests that the four DGAT groups have distinctive physiological roles and are particularly prominent in developmental processes relating to reproduction, such as flowering, and in fruit/seed formation especially in the mesocarp and endosperm tissues.
OBJECTIVE: The addition of residual oils such as palm fibre oil (PFO) and sludge palm oil (SPO) to crude palm oil (CPO) can be problematic within supply chains. PFO is thought to aggravate the accumulation of monochloropropanediols (MCPDs) in CPO, whilst SPO is an acidic by-product of CPO milling and is not fit for human consumption. Traditional targeted techniques to detect such additives are costly, time-consuming and require highly trained operators. Therefore, we seek to assess the use of gas chromatography-ion mobility spectrometry (GC-IMS) for rapid, cost-effective screening of CPO for the presence of characteristic PFO and SPO volatile organic compound (VOC) fingerprints.
RESULTS: Lab-pressed CPO and commercial dispatch tank (DT) CPO were spiked with PFO and SPO, respectively. Both additives were detectable at concentrations of 1% and 10% (w/w) in spiked lab-pressed CPO, via seven PFO-associated VOCs and 21 SPO-associated VOCs. DT controls could not be distinguished from PFO-spiked DT CPO, suggesting these samples may have already contained low levels of PFO. DT controls were free of SPO. SPO was detected in all SPO-spiked dispatch tank samples by all 21 of the previously distinguished VOCs and had a significant fingerprint consisting of four spectral regions.
Comparative genomics and transcriptomic analyses were performed on two agronomically important groups of genes from oil palm versus other major crop species and the model organism, Arabidopsis thaliana. The first analysis was of two gene families with key roles in regulation of oil quality and in particular the accumulation of oleic acid, namely stearoyl ACP desaturases (SAD) and acyl-acyl carrier protein (ACP) thioesterases (FAT). In both cases, these were found to be large gene families with complex expression profiles across a wide range of tissue types and developmental stages. The detailed classification of the oil palm SAD and FAT genes has enabled the updating of the latest version of the oil palm gene model. The second analysis focused on disease resistance (R) genes in order to elucidate possible candidates for breeding of pathogen tolerance/resistance. Ortholog analysis showed that 141 out of the 210 putative oil palm R genes had homologs in banana and rice. These genes formed 37 clusters with 634 orthologous genes. Classification of the 141 oil palm R genes showed that the genes belong to the Kinase (7), CNL (95), MLO-like (8), RLK (3) and Others (28) categories. The CNL R genes formed eight clusters. Expression data for selected R genes also identified potential candidates for breeding of disease resistance traits. Furthermore, these findings can provide information about the species evolution as well as the identification of agronomically important genes in oil palm and other major crops.
Acyl-CoA-binding proteins (ACBPs) are involved in binding and trafficking acyl-CoA esters in eukaryotic cells. ACBPs contain a well-conserved acyl-CoA-binding domain. Their various functions have been characterized in the model plant Arabidopsis and, to a lesser extent, in rice. In this study, genome-wide detection and expression analysis of ACBPs were performed on Elaeis guineensis (oil palm), the most important oil crop in the world. Seven E. guineensis ACBPs were identified and classified into four groups according to their deduced amino acid domain organization. Phylogenetic analysis showed conservation of this family with other higher plants. All seven EgACBPs were expressed in most tissues while their differential expression suggests various functions in specific tissues. For example, EgACBP3 had high expression in inflorescences and stalks while EgACBP1 showed strong expression in leaves. Because of the importance of E. guineensis as an oil crop, expression of EgACBPs was specifically examined during fruit development. EgACBP3 showed high expression throughout mesocarp development, while EgACBP1 had enhanced expression during rapid oil synthesis. In endosperm, both EgACBP1 and EgACBP3 exhibited increased expression during seed development. These results provide important information for further investigations on the biological functions of EgACBPs in various tissues and, in particular, their roles in oil synthesis.