Trolox-equivalent antioxidant capacity and composition of five alpine plant species growing at different elevations on the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau

Guangxin Cui, Xiaohong Wei, A. Allan Degen, Xiaoxing Wei, Jianwei Zhou, Luming Ding, Zhanhuan Shang, Shimin Liu, Ruijun Long

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Alpine plants on the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau are exposed to an extremely harsh environment, namely severe cold, strong ultraviolet radiation, hypoxia and low CO2 partial pressure. These conditions are sources of oxidative stress, which increase in severity with increasing elevation. Aims: To examine whether antioxidant capacity and chemical composition of alpine plants change with increasing elevation. Methods: We measured the Trolox-equivalent antioxidant capacity (TEAC) and chemical composition of five alpine plant species at 3016, 3814 and 4621 m a.s.l. Results: With increasing elevation: (1) the TEAC increased and total phenols and tannins tended to increase in two forb and two shrub species but not in a sedge species; (2) concentrations of protein and fat increased in all five plant species; (3) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) increased and (4) mineral concentrations tended to decrease, but trends were inconsistent. Conclusions: We conclude that with increasing elevation, TEAC and total phenols and tannins increased which we interpreted as an adaptation to higher oxidative stress; and protein and fat contents increased to support high metabolic activity. The increase in PUFA and the trend for minerals to decrease with increasing elevation require further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-396
Number of pages10
JournalPlant Ecology and Diversity
Volume9
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 3 Jul 2016

Keywords

  • Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau
  • antioxidant capacity
  • elevation
  • environmental stress
  • oxidative stress
  • plant adaptation
  • polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • tannins

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