Diversity of pyrrolizidine alkaloids in native and invasive Senecio pterophorus (Asteraceae): Implications for toxicity

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Abstract

© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Changes in plant chemical defenses after invasion could have consequences on the invaded ecosystems by modifying the interactions between plants and herbivores and facilitating invasion success. However, no comprehensive biogeographical studies have yet determined the phenotypic levels of plant chemical defenses, as consumed by local herbivores, covering large distributional areas of a species. Senecio pterophorus is a perennial shrub native to Eastern South Africa, expanded into Western South Africa and introduced into Australia and Europe. As other Asteraceae, S. pterophorus contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) toxic to vertebrate and invertebrate herbivores. Here we analyzed S. pterophorus PAs by LC-MS/MS on foliage sampled across its entire distributional range, including the native and all non-native areas. PA concentrations and diversity was very high: we found 57 compounds belonging to 6 distinct necine base-types, including the highly toxic 1,2-unsaturated PAs (retronecine and otonecines) and the less toxic 1,2-saturated PAs (platynecine and rosmarinecines). Plants from different origins diverged in their PA absolute and relative concentrations. Rosmarinine was the most abundant compound in Australia and South Africa, but it was nearly absent in Europe. We characterized three plant chemotypes: retrorsine-senkirkine chemotype in Eastern South Africa, rosmarinine chemotype in Australia and Western South Africa, and acetylseneciphylline chemotype in Europe. PA absolute concentrations were highest in Australia. The increased absolute and relative concentrations of retronecine PAs from Australia and Europe, respectively, indicate that S. pterophorus is potentially more toxic in the invasive range than in the native range.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-146
JournalPhytochemistry
Volume108
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

Keywords

  • Asteraceae
  • Chemotypes
  • Geographical diversity
  • Invasive species
  • LC-MS/MS
  • Pyrrolizidine alkaloids
  • Senecio pterophorus
  • Toxicity

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