1. Leucoanthocyanin monomers of high mobilities in aqueous solvents on thinlayer chromatograms, assumed to be structurally simple, were characteristic of mature bulky tissues, whereas members of lower mobility were confined to young vegetative and floral tissues. 2. Flavylogens were separated by gel filtration on Sephadex columns into monomeric, oligomeric and polymeric fractions. 3. The polymeric fraction from young brown stems was heterogeneous, one-half having a molecular weight of about 3400, one-third a molecular weight between 3600 and 17000, and the remainder a molecular weight of over 17000. 4. Leaves had low flavylogen concentrations; only monomers were present. Stem tissues were rich in polymers, which increased with the age of the young stem and decreased inwards through the wood. The maximal flavylogen concentrations were in the phloem and cambium from mature stems, where all three fractions were richly present. The periderm tissue and, to a lesser extent, the seed coat were characterized by a very high polymer/monomer ratio, exhibiting a much higher degree of polymerization than the wood. Root tissues contained high concentrations of monomers. 5. In general, there was an inverse correlation between the extent of polymerization and the complexity of the monomers present. 6. The results are in favour of the thesis that the function of the flavanols is, after polymerization to condensed tannins, to impregnate dead structural tissues and thereby to protect them from infection and decay.
- © 1969 The Biochemical Society