The Seasonal Variations of Lignan Profiles in Anthriscus sylvestris (L.) Hoffm
Anthriscus sylvestris (L.) Hoffm. (Apiaceae) is a common wild plants in Northwest Europe that accumulate considerable amounts of lignans. Deoxypodophyllotoxin as the main attractive constituent can be used as a precursor for the production of podophyllotoxin but is not yet applied on an industrial scale. In previous studies we showed that different populations of A. sylvestris yielded significantly different phenylpropanoid profiles  and that there is no clear genetic factor determining the lignan profile when seed material from different locations is grown under identical conditions . It was assumed that environmental factors determine the lignan profile. To test this hypothesis we collected 5 plants weekly during one year from 2 different locations. The roots and the aerial parts were profiled by GC-MS . Large variation in lignan profiles were shown between individual plants collected at the same time and location. The aerial parts contain equal amount of lignans as the roots in early spring, but during the season the concentration of lignans in the aerial parts decreased. Especially the lignans present in lower amounts (like hinokinin and angeloyl podophyllotoxin) varied highly during the season. There is however a clear correlation between root mass and Deoxypodophyllotoxin content. Plants that were mowed several days before harvesting showed significant increase in their lignan content. The large variations in lignan contents could be to the advantage of the plant against herbivores.
References:  Koulman, A. et al. 2001 Planta Med. 67: 858–62.  Koulman, A. et al. 2003 Planta Med. 69: 733–738.