Methods for the Investigation of Compartmentalization and Channeling

  • Martin Luckner


In the last century, it was already known from light microscopical studies that colored secondary products are located in distinct compartments of living cells, e.g., anthocyanins and anthraquinones in vacuoles and carotenoids in chromo-plasts. Since then the use of UV fluorescence microscopy or electron microscopy has led to the localization of many other secondary products (A 3). For the detection of compounds which do not directly absorb UV or electrons the following procedures have been applied:
  • staining, e.g., in the localization of tannins, cellulose, callose, and lignin

  • formation of precipitates with suitable reagents, e.g., in the localization of alkaloids with KBiI4 and essential oils, flavonoids, tannins, and other secondary products with OsO4, UO2 2+, and KMnO4

  • chemical modification of the compounds followed by formation of precipitates, e.g., in the localization of carbohydrates after periodic acid oxidation

  • reaction with peroxidase-labeled or fluorescent antibodies, e.g., in the localisation of alginic acid, or with antibodies labeled with gold granules, e.g., in the localization of mannan

  • reaction with gold-labeled concanavalin A, e.g., in the localization of yeast mannan and other branched polysaccharides, or reaction with wheat germ agglutinin, e.g., in the localization of chitin

  • labeling with radioactive isotopes and autoradiographic examination, e.g., in the localization of lignin, of cell wall polysaccharides, of cyanogenic glycosides, and of alkaloids, or X-ray microanalysis, e.g., in the localization of fucoidan

  • examination before and after specific enzymatic degradation or selective extraction of secondary products, e.g., in the localization of carbohydrates.


Alginic Acid Rough Endoplasmic Reticulum Secondary Product Tracer Experiment Phenol Oxidase 
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Reference for Further Reading

  1. Luckner, M., Diettrich, B., Lerbs, W.: Cellular compartmentation and channeling of secondary metabolism in microorganisms and higher plants. Prog. Phytochem. 6, 103–142 (1980)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Luckner
    • 1
  1. 1.Sektion PharmazieMartin-Luther-UniversitätHalle-WittenbergDeutschland

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