Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New cell component important to tea and wine-making

Date:
September 11, 2013
Source:
Oxford University Press (OUP)
Summary:
Scientists have discovered where plants build tannins, complex chemicals used by plants for defence and protection. The source is the tannosome, a newly discovered organelle that is found in most land plants. All living things are made from cells; whether they are single-celled organisms like amoeba, or enormous entities like giant redwoods (in which millions of cells make up the body of the organism).

Scientists have discovered where plants build tannins, complex chemicals used by plants for defence and protection. The source is the tannosome, a newly discovered organelle that is found in most land plants.

Related Articles


All living things are made from cells; whether they are single-celled organisms like amoeba, or enormous entities like Giant Redwoods (in which millions of cells make up the body of the organism). Although cells may become specialised for particular roles in an organism, they each undertake many different tasks. Internally each cell is furnished with a range of smaller bodies -- termed organelles -- that perform those various essential functions; e.g. chloroplasts in plant cells which are involved in photosynthesis, mitochondria in both animal and plant cells engaged in respiration, and ribosomes that are essential for protein synthesis. Each organelle also produces a range of chemicals for the cell. The scientists were examining the organelles in the cell, and almost overlooked some of them.

Geneviève Conéjéro said: "When we purified for the first time the tannosomes (unknown objects at this time), we thought we had obtained chloroplasts and rejected them as rubbish artifacts. After several trials, we considered that chloroplasts were not the only green objects in plants."

The international team, headquartered at INRA in Montpellier, used a number of techniques to examine the cells in action. In some cases they fixed cells into place, in others they introduced dyes and in more samples they examined spectra, light signatures of chemicals. What they found was that these strange organelles were producing tannins. Until now, no one has known exactly where in the cell tannins have been made. People could see them stored in the vacuole, another organelle in the plant cell, but couldn't work out how they got there.

Geneviève Conéjéro said: "Tannins, also called condensed tannins or proanthocyanidins, are thought to play diverse roles such as defense against herbivores and pathogens or ultraviolet protection. They give feeling of pungency in the mouth, the feel of a cat's tongue licking your hand. Common sense associates tannins with immature unripe fruit, and people ironically say 'this fruit is too green'. More seriously, plant tannins have been used since the Neolithic times to prevent spoilage of animal skins, and therefore first to manufacture leather laces and soles protecting feet of rough ground."

The result was unexpected and was checked and rechecked. Conéjéro added: "To come to that conclusion and propose a somewhat revolutionary model, we needed a multidisciplinary approach associating several microscopy and biochemistry techniques. The most intriguing finding from this study is the very close proximity of the tannin polymerization system and the photosynthesis supercomplexes."

Aside from their protective roles in plants, tannins are also important in making tea and red wine taste the way they do. It isn't every day that a new organelle is identified, but this goes to show that something as commonplace and seemingly familiar as the cell still has secrets to be discovered. Something to think about the next time you have a cuppa or glass of merlot?


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Oxford University Press (OUP). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Brillouet J-M., Romieu C., Schoefs B., Solymosi K., Cheynier V., Fulcrand H., Verdeil J-L. and Conéjéro G. The tannosome is an organelle forming condensed tannins in the chlorophyllous organs of Tracheophyta. Annals of Botany, 2013 DOI: 10.1093/aob/mct168

Cite This Page:

Oxford University Press (OUP). "New cell component important to tea and wine-making." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130911093053.htm>.
Oxford University Press (OUP). (2013, September 11). New cell component important to tea and wine-making. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130911093053.htm
Oxford University Press (OUP). "New cell component important to tea and wine-making." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130911093053.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How A Chorus Led Scientists To A New Frog Species

How A Chorus Led Scientists To A New Frog Species

Newsy (Oct. 30, 2014) — A frog noticed by a conservationist on New York's Staten Island has been confirmed as a new species after extensive study and genetic testing. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Surfer Accidentally Stands on Shark, Gets Bitten

Surfer Accidentally Stands on Shark, Gets Bitten

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) — A 20-year-old competition surfer said on Thursday he accidentally stepped on a shark's head before it bit him off the Australian east coast. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Inflicts Heavy Toll on Guinean Potato Trade

Ebola Inflicts Heavy Toll on Guinean Potato Trade

AFP (Oct. 30, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic has seen Senegal and Guinea Bissau close its borders with Guinea and the economic consequences have started to be felt, especially in Fouta Djallon, where the renowned potato industry has been hit hard. Duration: 02:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Genetically Altered Glowing Flower on Display in Tokyo

Genetically Altered Glowing Flower on Display in Tokyo

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 30, 2014) — Just in time for Halloween, a glowing flower goes on display in Tokyo. Instead of sorcery and magic, its creators used science to genetically modify the flower, adding a naturally fluorescent plankton protein to its genetic mix. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins