A unique feature of glandular trichomes of plants in the botanical family Solanaceae is that they produce sugar esters (SE), chemicals that have been shown to possess insecticidal, antifungal, and antibacterial properties. Sugar esters of tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) provide pest resistance, and are important flavor precursors in oriental tobacco cultivars. Acyl moieties of SEs in Nicotiana spp., petunia, and tomato are shown to vary with respect to carbon length and isomer structure (2–12 carbon chain length; anteiso-, iso-, and straight-chain). Sugar esters and their acyl groups could serve as a model to explore the basis of phenotypic diversity and adaptation to natural and agricultural environments. However, information on the diversity of acyl composition among species, cultivars, and accessions is lacking. Herein, described is the analysis of SE acyl groups found in 21 accessions of Nicotiana obtusifolia (desert tobacco), six of Nicotiana occidentalis subsp. hesperis, three of Nicotiana alata, two of N. occidentalis, four modern tobacco cultivars, five petunia hybrids, and one accession each of a primitive potato (Solanum berthaultii) and tomato (Solanum pennellii). A total of 20 different acyl groups was observed that were represented differently among cultivars, species, and accessions. In Nicotiana species, acetate and iso- and anteiso-branched acids prevailed. Straight-chain groups (2–8 carbons) were prominent in petunias, while octanoic acid was prominent in N. alata and N. × sanderae. Two unexpected acyl groups, 8-methyl nonanoate and decanoate were found in N. occidentalis subsp. hesperis. Longer chain groups were found in the petunia, tomato, and potato species studied.

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Published in Phytochemistry, v. 130, p. 218–227.

© 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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We thank the Kentucky Tobacco Research and Development Center (University of Kentucky), Lexington, KY, USA, for the financial support of this work.