Localization of beta-D-glucosidase activity and glucovanillin in vanilla bean (Vanilla planifolia Andrews).
The morphology, anatomy and histology of mature green vanilla beans were examined by light and transmission electron microscopy. Beans have a triangular cross-section with a central cavity containing seeds. Each angle is lined with tubular cells, or papillae, while the cavity sides consist of placental laminae. The epicarp and endocarp are formed by one or two layers of very small cells, while the mesocarp contains large, highly vacuolarized cells, the cytoplasm being restricted to a thin layer along the cell walls. The radial distributions of glucovanillin and beta-glucosidase activity, measured on p-nitrophenyl-beta-glucopyranoside and glucovanillin, are superimposable and show how beta-glucosidase activity increases from the epicarp towards the placental zone, whereas glucovanillin is exclusively located in the placentae and papillae. Subcellular localization of beta-glucosidase activity was achieved by incubating sections of vanilla beans in a buffer containing 5-bromo-4-chloro-3-indolyl-beta-d-glucopyranoside as a substrate. Activity was observed in the cytoplasm (and/or the periplasm) of mesocarp and endocarp cells, with a more diffuse pattern observed in the papillae. A possible mechanism for the hydrolysis of glucovanillin and release of the aromatic aglycon vanillin involves the decompartmentation of cytoplasmic (and/or periplasmic) beta-glucosidase and vacuolar glucovanillin. (+info)
Taste responses in patients with Parkinson's disease.
OBJECTIVE: Preclinical studies indicate that dopaminergic transmission in the basal ganglia may be involved in processing of both pleasant and unpleasant stimuli. Given this, the aim of the present study was to assess taste responses to sweet, bitter, sour, and salty substances in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD). METHODS: Rated intensity and pleasantness of filter paper discs soaked in sucrose (10-60%), quinine (0.025-0.5%), citric acid (0.25-4.0%), or sodium chloride (1.25-20%) solutions was evaluated in 30 patients with PD and in 33 healthy controls. Paper discs soaked in deionised water served as control stimuli. In addition, reactivity to 100 ml samples of chocolate and vanilla milk was assessed in both groups. Taste detection thresholds were assessed by means of electrogustometry. Sociodemographic and neuropsychiatric data, including cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, tea and coffee drinking, depressive symptoms, and cognitive functioning were collected. RESULTS: In general, perceived intensity, pleasantness, and identification of the sucrose, quinine, citric acid, or sodium chloride samples did not differ between the PD patients and controls. Intensity ratings of the filter papers soaked in 0.025% quinine were significantly higher in the PD patients compared with the control group. No inter-group differences were found in taste responses to chocolate and vanilla milk. Electrogustometric thresholds were significantly (p = 0.001) more sensitive in the PD patients. CONCLUSIONS: PD is not associated with any major alterations in responses to pleasant or unpleasant taste stimuli. Patients with PD may present enhanced taste acuity in terms of electrogustometric threshold. (+info)
Occurrence of Cucumber mosaic virus on vanilla (Vanilla planifolia Andrews) in India.
Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) causing mosaic, leaf distortion and stunting of vanilla (Vanilla planifolia Andrews) in India was characterized on the basis of biological and coat protein (CP) nucleotide sequence properties. In mechanical inoculation tests, the virus was found to infect members of Chenopodiaceae, Cucurbitaceae, Fabaceae and Solanaceae. Nicotiana benthamiana was found to be a suitable host for the propagation of CMV. The virus was purified from inoculated N. benthamiana plants and negatively stained purified preparations contained isometric particles of about 28 nm in diameter. The molecular weight of the viral coat protein subunits was found to be 25.0 kDa. Polyclonal antiserum was produced in New Zealand white rabbit, immunoglobulin G (IgG) was purified and conjugated with alkaline phosphatase enzyme. Double antibody sandwich-enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (DAS-ELISA) method was standardized for the detection of CMV infection in vanilla plants. CP gene of the virus was amplified using reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), cloned and sequenced. Sequenced region contained a single open reading frame of 657 nucleotides potentially coding for 218 amino acids. Sequence analyses with other CMV isolates revealed the greatest identity with black pepper isolate of CMV (99%) and the phylogram clearly showed that CMV infecting vanilla belongs to subgroup IB. This is the first report of occurrence of CMV on V. planifolia from India. (+info)
Deconstructing the vanilla milkshake: the dominant effect of sucrose on self-administration of nutrient-flavor mixtures.
Rats and humans avidly consume flavored foods that contain sucrose and fat, presumably due to their rewarding qualities. In this study, we hypothesized that the complex mixture of corn oil, sucrose, and flavor is more reinforcing than any of these components alone. We observed a concentration-dependent increase in reinforcers of sucrose solutions received (0%, 3%, 6.25%, and 12.5%) in both fixed ratio and progressive ratio procedures, but with equicaloric corn oil solutions (0%, 1.4%, 2.8%, and 5.6%) this finding was replicated only in the fixed ratio procedure. Likewise, addition of 1.4% oil to 3% or 12.5% sucrose increased fixed ratio, but not progressive ratio, reinforcers received relative to those of sucrose alone. Finally, addition of 3% vanilla flavoring did not change self-administration of 3% sucrose or 3% sucrose+1.4% oil solutions. These data suggest that, calorie-for-calorie, sucrose is the dominant reinforcing component of novel foods that contain a mixture of fat, sucrose, and flavor. (+info)
Mycorrhizal fungi of Vanilla: diversity, specificity and effects on seed germination and plant growth.
Mycorrhizal fungi are essential for the germination of orchid seeds. However, the specificity of orchids for their mycorrhizal fungi and the effects of the fungi on orchid growth are controversial. Mycorrhizal fungi have been studied in some temperate and tropical, epiphytic orchids, but the symbionts of tropical, terrestrial orchids are still unknown. Here we study diversity, specificity and function of mycorrhizal fungi in Vanilla, a pantropical genus that is both terrestrial and epiphytic. Mycorrhizal roots were collected from four Vanilla species in Puerto Rico, Costa Rica and Cuba. Cultured and uncultured mycorrhizal fungi were identified by sequencing the internal transcribed spacer region of nuclear rDNA (nrITS) and part of the mitochondrial ribosomal large subunit (mtLSU), and by counting number of nuclei in hyphae. Vanilla spp. were associated with a wide range of mycorrhizal fungi: Ceratobasidium, Thanatephorus and Tulasnella. Related fungi were found in different species of Vanilla, although at different relative frequencies. Ceratobasidium was more common in roots in soil and Tulasnella was more common in roots on tree bark, but several clades of fungi included strains from both substrates. Relative frequencies of genera of mycorrhizal fungi differed significantly between cultured fungi and those detected by direct amplification. Ceratobasidium and Tulasnella were tested for effects on seed germination of Vanilla and effects on growth of Vanilla and Dendrobium plants. We found significant differences among fungi in effects on seed germination and plant growth. Effects of mycorrhizal fungi on Vanilla and Dendrobium were similar: a clade of Ceratobasidium had a consistently positive effect on plant growth and seed germination. This clade has potential use in germination and propagation of orchids. Results confirmed that a single orchid species can be associated with several mycorrhizal fungi with different functional consequences for the plant. (+info)
On the value of nuclear and mitochondrial gene sequences for reconstructing the phylogeny of vanilloid orchids (Vanilloideae, Orchidaceae).