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Localization of Salvinorin A and Related Compounds in Glandular Trichomes of the Psychoactive Sage,

Localization of Salvinorin A and Related Compounds in Glandular Trichomes of the Psychoactive Sage,

  1. Alfa
    Annals of Botany 2004 Jun;93(6):763-71

    DANIEL J. SIEBERT

    BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Salvia divinorum produces several closely related neoclerodane diterpenes. The most abundant of these, salvinorin A, is responsible for the psychoactive properties of the plant. To determine where these compounds occur in the plant, various organs, tissues and glandular secretions were chemically analysed. A microscopic survey of the S. divinorum plant was performed to examine the various types of trichomes present and to determine their distribution. METHODS: Chemical analyses were performed using thin layer chromatographic and histochemical techniques. Trichomes were examined using conventional light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. KEY RESULTS: It was found that neoclerodane diterpenes are secreted as components of a resin that accumulates in peltate glandular trichomes, specifically in the subcuticular space that exists between the trichome head cells and the cuticle that encloses them. Four main types of trichomes were observed: peltate glandular trichomes, short-stalked capitate glandular trichomes, long-stalked capitate glandular trichomes and non-glandular trichomes. Their morphology and distribution is described. Peltate glandular trichomes were only found on the abaxial surfaces of the leaves, stems, rachises, bracts, pedicles and calyces. This was consistent with chemical analyses, which showed the presence of neoclerodane diterpenes in these organs, but not in parts of the plant where peltate glandular trichomes are absent. CONCLUSIONS: Salvinorin A and related compounds are secreted as components of a complex resin that accumulates in the subcuticular space of peltate glandular trichomes