Hypermodified fluorescent chlorophyll catabolites: source of blue luminescence in senescent leaves.


Breakdown of chlorophyll is the characteristic visual sign of leaf senescence. In the past two decades it has been shown that the chlorophyll in degreening leaves is degraded to colorless and nonfluorescent chlorophyll catabolites (NCCs). In apples and pears chlorophylls are also broken down to NCCs that are identical to those from senescent leaves of the corresponding fruit trees. Chlorophyll breakdown was thus suggested to follow a common path in senescence and fruit ripening, and to yield NCCs as its “final” product (Scheme 1). In contrast, fluorescent chlorophyll catabolites (FCCs) accumulate in senescent, yellow banana leaves, and NCCs occur only in traces in their extracts (Figure 1 and Figure S1 in the Supporting Information). Indeed, FCCs (such as pFCC) were observed earlier in senescent leaves, but only as shortlived precursors of NCCs. In ripening bananas, “persistent” FCCs such as Mc-FCC-56 (Scheme 1) have been discovered only recently; these are the compounds responsible for bananas blue luminescence. The FCCs from banana leaves (Ma-FCCs) differ from their relatives in fruit peels (Figure 1), but appear to be “persistent” also and to feature complex propionyl ester functions. The structure of one of them, Ma-FCC-61, was elucidated as a tetrapyrrole with an unprecedented digalactosylglyceryl moiety (Scheme 1).

DOI: 10.1002/anie.201000294

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@article{Banala2010HypermodifiedFC, title={Hypermodified fluorescent chlorophyll catabolites: source of blue luminescence in senescent leaves.}, author={Srinivas Banala and Simone Moser and Thomas M{\"{u}ller and Christoph Kreutz and Andreas Holzinger and Cornelius L{\"{u}tz and Bernhard Kr{\"a}utler}, journal={Angewandte Chemie}, year={2010}, volume={49 30}, pages={5174-7} }