Variation of glucosinolate accumulation among different organs and developmental stages of Arabidopsis thaliana

Phytochemistry. 2003 Feb;62(3):471-81. doi: 10.1016/s0031-9422(02)00549-6.


The glucosinolate content of various organs of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh., Columbia (Col-0) ecotype, was analyzed at different stages during its life cycle. Significant differences were noted among organs in both glucosinolate concentration and composition. Dormant and germinating seeds had the highest concentration (2.5-3.3% by dry weight), followed by inflorescences, siliques (fruits), leaves and roots. While aliphatic glucosinolates predominated in most organs, indole glucosinolates made up nearly half of the total composition in roots and late-stage rosette leaves. Seeds had a very distinctive glucosinolate composition. They possessed much higher concentrations of several types of aliphatic glucosinolates than other organs, including methylthioalkyl and, hydroxyalkyl glucosinolates and compounds with benzoate esters than other organs. From a developmental perspective, older leaves had lower glucosinolate concentrations than younger leaves, but this was not due to decreasing concentrations in individual leaves with age (glucosinolate concentration was stable during leaf expansion). Rather, leaves initiated earlier in development simply had much lower rates of glucosinolate accumulation per dry weight gain throughout their lifetimes. During seed germination and leaf senescence, there were significant declines in glucosinolate concentration. The physiological and ecological significance of these findings is briefly discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / growth & development*
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism
  • Benzoates / chemistry
  • Benzoates / metabolism
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Germination
  • Glucosinolates / chemistry
  • Glucosinolates / metabolism*
  • Indoles / chemistry
  • Indoles / metabolism
  • Plant Structures / growth & development
  • Plant Structures / metabolism
  • Time Factors


  • Benzoates
  • Glucosinolates
  • Indoles
  • indole