Journal Highlight: Inter- and intraspecific variability of nitrogenated compounds in gorgonian corals via application of a fast one-step analytical protocol

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  • Published: Jan 15, 2018
  • Author: separationsNOW
  • Channels: Gas Chromatography
thumbnail image: Journal Highlight: Inter- and intraspecific variability of nitrogenated compounds in gorgonian corals via application of a fast one-step analytical protocol

The chemodiversity of gorgonian alkaloids was investigated by applying a fast and effective protocol combining extraction and derivatization using small-scale tissue samples and GC/MS analysis.

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Inter- and intraspecific variability of nitrogenated compounds in gorgonian corals via application of a fast one-step analytical protocol

Chemistry & Biodiversity, 2018, online
Chiara Samorì, Federica Costantini, Paola Galletti, Emilio Tagliavini and Marco Abbiati

Abstract: Gorgonian corals play a structural role in temperate and tropical biogenic reefs, forming animal forests and creating biodiversity hot spots. In the Mediterranean Sea, slow-growing and long-lived gorgonian species are threatened by human disturbances and global environmental changes and concern about their conservation is rising. Alkaloid metabolites have proven to be essential in protecting these species from environmental stressors. Traditional profiling methodologies to detect these metabolites require a large quantity of living tissue. Here, the chemodiversity of gorgonian alkaloids was investigated by applying a fast and effective protocol combining extraction and derivatization using small-scale tissue samples and GC/MS analysis. The method was effective in identifying and quantifying alkaloids and guanine-based compounds. Eight N-heterocyclic compounds were found in six Mediterranean gorgonians differing for types and quantity. The metabolomic profile was conservative in species of the Eunicella genus, with three species sharing the same pattern. Conversely, Paramuricea clavata displayed a noticeable spatial pattern of variation among colonies collected in different locations. The analytical approach presented here proved to be effective, allowing rare, endangered, and small-sized species to be screened rapidly for detection of new compounds in order to explore their biological and ecological functions.

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