The dominant components in floral nectar is fructose, glucose and sucrose. The concentration and the ratio between the sugars are indicative for plant species and play an important part in the interplay between plants and pollinators. In this paper we present a novel HPLC-ELSD based analytical method for sugar characterization of nectar from orchids. Nectar was collected on Whatman No. 1 paper and preserved in the field by 70 v/v% ethanol. The analytical method had a linear range up to at least 3000 mg L−1 for all 3 sugars with a precision of 1.5–1.7%. Correlation coefficients were 0.9999 to 1.0000. The LOD of all sugars were 5–7 mg L−1 and the LOQ were 17–19 mg L−1. Field samples were stable for min. 7 weeks at −18 °C. The technique was applied to two species of Platanthera (Orchidaceae) in order to test whether species-related differences in sugar composition could be observed. No differences were found between the two species, which were sucrose-dominant (53.5–100%) though with high variation within species and between individual flowers.
Journal of Chromatography B – Elsevier
Published: Apr 1, 2018
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