Geographic and phenotypic variation in heartwood and essential-oil characters in natural populations of Santalum austrocaledonicum in Vanuatu

Page, Tony, Southwell, Ian, Russell, Mike, Tate, Hanington, Tungon, Joseph, Sam, Chanel, Dickinson, Geoff, Robson, Ken, and Leakey, Roger R.B. (2010) Geographic and phenotypic variation in heartwood and essential-oil characters in natural populations of Santalum austrocaledonicum in Vanuatu. Chemistry & Biodiversity, 7 (8). pp. 1990-2006.

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Phenotypic variation in heartwood and essential-oil characters of Santalum austrocaledonicum was assessed across eleven populations on seven islands of Vanuatu. Trees differed significantly in their percentage heartwood cross-sectional area and this varied independently of stem diameter. The concentrations of the four major essential-oil constituents (α-santalol, β-santalol, (Z)-β-curcumen-12-ol, and cis-nuciferol) of alcohol-extracted heartwood exhibited at least tenfold and continuous tree-to-tree variation. Commercially important components α- and β-santalol found in individual trees ranged from 0.8–47% and 0–24.1%, respectively, across all populations, and significant (P<0.05) differences for each were found between individual populations. The Erromango population was unique in that the mean concentrations of its monocyclic ((Z)-β-curcumen-12-ol and cis-nuciferol) sesquiterpenes exceeded those of its bi- and tricyclic (α- and β-santalol) sesquiterpenes. Heartwood colour varied between trees and spanned 65 colour categories, but no identifiable relationships were found between heartwood colour and α- and β-santalol, although a weak relationship was evident between colour saturation and total oil concentration. These results indicate that the heartwood colour is not a reliable predictive trait for oil quality. The results of this study highlight the knowledge gaps in fundamental understanding of heartwood biology in Santalum genus. The intraspecific variation in heartwood cross-sectional area, oil concentration, and oil quality traits is of considerable importance to the domestication of sandalwood and present opportunities for the development of highly superior S. austrocaledonicum cultivars that conform to the industry's International Standards used for S. album.

Item ID: 16774
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1612-1880
Keywords: Santalum austrocaledonicum; santalol; (Z)-β-curcumen-12-ol; cis-nuciferol; essential oils; phenotypic variation; sandalwood; phytochemical variation
Date Deposited: 06 May 2011 08:15
FoR Codes: 07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0705 Forestry Sciences > 070507 Tree Improvement (Selection and Breeding) @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0604 Genetics > 060411 Population, Ecological and Evolutionary Genetics @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960805 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity at Regional or Larger Scales @ 50%
82 PLANT PRODUCTION AND PLANT PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8201 Forestry > 820199 Forestry not elsewhere classified @ 50%
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