Variation of Polyphenols in Eucalyptus

When you look at the literature of some plant families, you never know what you will actually find in the big picture when you dig deep in the chemical analysis of tannins as happened to us with eucalypts

Eucalypts, the symbols of Australia together with koalas

Figure 1. Marsh et al. (2017) studied the phylogeny and polyphenol chemistry of over 600 species of eucalypts.

The species richness found with the eucalypts is simply amazing. They are found at many continents, but certainly everyone locates them especially to Australia. When we started the polyphenol analyses within these tree species, we had no knowledge that there could be more than 600 eucalypt species growing in Australia.

There were some earlier studies conducted with eucalypt chemistry, but very few were comprehensive or looked at the polyphenol chemistry in detail. Thus it was a pleasant surprise to see that tens and hundreds of eucalypt species actually are able to accumulate tannins, especially ellagitannins. Nevertheless, the tannin diversity found in the eucalypts was quite stunning.

The first comprehensive effort in eucalypt chemistry and phylogeny was published by Marsh et al. (2017). In this paper we showed the first patterns of different tannin and flavonoid groups in the eucalypt phylogeny (Fig. 1). There is more to come, soon enough.

Fully unbelievable – so huge ellagitannin diversity in these samples.