Occurrence of Fructans in Plants1011

Fructan-containing plants are mainly angiosperms. The fructan-containing species belong to both mono- and dicotyledonous families. Some of these plants are eaten as vegetables such as artichoke, asparagus, chicory, garlic, Jerusalem artichoke, leek, onion, and salsify, etc.

In monocotyledons, fructans are widely present in the aerial parts of young seedings of Gramineae but significant concentration is found only in northern grasses (Pooideae), oat (Avena sativa), barley (Hordeum vulgare), rye (Secale sativa), and wheat (Triticum aestivum and Triticum durum). It is also present in the order of the Liliaceaes. Indeed, the bulbs, tuber, and tuberous roots of Amaryllidaceae, Aga-vaceae, Haemodoraceae, Iridaceae, Liliaceae, and Xanthorrhoeaceae produce and store fructans. Especially, fructans have been found in the family of Liliaceae, in the leaf and bulb of leek (Allium ampeloprasum), the bulb of onion and shallot (Allium cepa), garlic (Allium sativum), and the tuber of asparagus (Asparagus offi-cinalis and Asparagus racemosus) and in the family of Agavaceae in the tuber of palm lily (Cordyline terminalis) and Dracaena australis.

In dicotyledons, the fructans-containing orders are the Asterales, the Campanu-lales, the Dipsacales, the Polemoniaceae and the Ericales. As far as is known, all members of the major family Compositae (Asterales order) store significant amounts of fructans in their underground storage organs such as tap roots and tubers but not in their leaves. This is the case for chicory (Cichorium intybus), elecampane (Inula hellenum), dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus), murnong (Microseris lanceolata), salsify (Tragopogon porrifolius), and yacon (Polymnia sonchifolia). In the other orders, the fructan-containing families usually have morphological affinities to the Compositae, namely Campanulaceae, Goodeniaceae, Lobeliaceae, Stylidiaceae (within the order Campanulales), and Calyceraceae (within the order Dipsacales). Within the order Polemoniaceae, three families with distant affinities to Asterales and Campanulales also contain fructans, namely Boraginaceae, Menyanthaceae, and Polemoniaceae.

In bryophytes, fructans have been reported to occur only in six orders of liverworts (Hepaticopsida) within land plants and in some species of the genus sphagnum within the mosses (Bryopsida). Fructans have not been found in Pterodophyta (ferns, club mosses, and horsetails) or in Gymnospermae (conifers and cycads).

Only brief summaries of the occurrence of fructans in algae have been provided. Still, inulin has been identified in members of both the Dasycladales order (especially Acetabularia mediterranea) and the Cladophorales order (four species of Cla-dophora and two species of Rhizoclonium).

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