1. The metabolism of xanthine and hypoxanthine in excised shoot tips of tea was studied with micromolar amounts of [2(-14)C]xanthine or [8(-14)C]hypoxanthine. Almost all of the radioactive compounds supplied were utilized by tea shoot tips by 30 h after their uptake. 2. The main products of [2(-14)C]xanthine and [8(-14)C]hypoxanthine metabolism in tea shoots were urea, allantoin and allantoic acid. There was also incorporation of the label into theobromine, caffeine and RNA purine nucleotides. 3. The results indicate that tea plants can catabolize purine bases by the same pathways as animals. It is also suggested that tea plants have the ability to snythesize purine nucleotides from glycine by the pathways of purine biosynthesis de novo and from hypoxanthine and xanthine by the pathway of purine salvage. 4. The results of incorporation of more radioactivity from [8(-14)C]hypoxanthine than from [2(-14)C]xanthine into RNA purine nucleotides and caffeine suggest that hypoxanthine is a more effective precursor of caffeine biosynthesis than xanthine. The formation of caffeine from hypoxanthine is a result of nucleotide synthesis via the pathway of purine salvage.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.