Inositol phosphates from barley low-phytate grain mutants and their parent variety were analysed by metal-dye detection HPLC and NMR. Compound assignment was carried out by comparison of retention times using a chemical hydrolysate of phytate [Ins(1,2,3,4,5,6)P6] as a reference. Co-inciding retention times indicated the presence of phytate, D/L-Ins(1,2,3,4,5)P5, Ins(1,2,3,4,6)P5, D/L-(1,2,4,5,6)P5, D/L-(1,2,3,4)P4, D/L-Ins(1,2,5,6)P4 and D/L-Ins(1,4,5,6)P4 in PLP1B mutants as well as the parent variety. In grain extracts from mutant lines PLP1A, PLP2A and PLP3A unusual accumulations of D/L-Ins(1,3,4,5)P4 were observed whereas phytate and the above-mentioned inositol phosphates were present in relatively small amounts. Assignment of D/L-Ins(1,3,4,5)P4 was corroborated by precise co-chromatography with a commercial Ins(1,3,4,5)P4 standard and by NMR spectroscopy. Analysis of inositol phosphates during grain development revealed accumulation of phytate and D/L-Ins(1,3,4,5)P4, which suggested the tetrakisphosphate compound to be an intermediate of phytate synthesis. This assumption was strengthened further by phytate degradation assays showing that D/L-Ins(1,3,4,5)P4 did not belong to the spectrum of degradation products generated by endogenous phytase activity. Metabolic scenarios leading to accumulation of D/L-Ins(1,3,4,5)P4 in barley low-phytate mutants are discussed.

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