Rapid HPLC screening of jasmonate-induced increases in tobacco alkaloids, phenolics, and diterpene glycosides in Nicotiana attenuata

J Agric Food Chem. 2001 Aug;49(8):3553-8. doi: 10.1021/jf010200+.


A rapid, HPLC-based screening procedure for the main classes of secondary metabolites in Nicotiana attenuata leaves (alkaloids, phenolics, and diterpene glycosides) is reported. In a single step, leaves are extracted in aqueous acidified (0.5% acetic acid) methanol, and the extracted compounds are separated by reversed-phase HPLC with an acidic water/acetonitrile gradient in <30 min. The utility of the method in quantifying changes in the secondary metabolites after methyl jasmonate treatment of the plants, a treatment known to elicit resistance to herbivores in nature, is illustrated. Methyl jasmonate treatment elicited dramatic increases in some secondary metabolites (caffeoylputrescine, nicotine, and diterpene glycosides increased 12.5-, 1.4-, and 1.9-fold, respectively) but left others, such as rutin, unchanged. Such broad-based analytical screens will help characterize environmental and genetic changes in secondary metabolite profiles.

MeSH terms

  • Alkaloids / metabolism
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods*
  • Cyclopentanes / pharmacology
  • Diterpenes / metabolism
  • Oxylipins
  • Phenols / metabolism
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry
  • Plants, Toxic*
  • Tobacco / chemistry*
  • Tobacco / metabolism*


  • Alkaloids
  • Cyclopentanes
  • Diterpenes
  • Oxylipins
  • Phenols
  • jasmonic acid