2007 Student Research Conference:
20th Annual Student Research Conference

Science

Are Ants Picky Eaters? Analysis of Fatty Acid Composition in Seed Elaiosomes
Danielle M. Stacy* and Kelly Watters
Dr. Anne E. Moody, Faculty Mentor

Seed dispersal for many plants depends on the movement of seeds by insects. Studies have shown that the elaisome, a lipid rich portion external to the seed, of Trillium maculatum attracts ants as a food source. To determine if there is a true selection by the ants among seeds, analysis of the elaisome fatty acid composition is underway. By digesting the elaiosomes in a transesterification process, the triglycerides are transformed into methyl esters of the constituent fatty acids. The methyl esters of the fatty acids are then analyzed by gas chromatography to explore whether composition varies significantly between seeds on a single pod and between seeds on different pods.

Keywords: gas chromatography, natural products, ants, seed, elaiosome, T. maculatum

Topic(s):Chemistry

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 12-2
Location: VH 1212
Time: 8:30 pm

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