Document Detail

Remarkable preservation of biomolecules in ancient radish seeds.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  8677257     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Desiccated seeds from a 6th century AD storage vessel recovered from Qasr Ibrîm, Egypt, were examined for the presence of lipids and nucleic acids. A remarkable degree of lipid preservation was discovered, the fatty acid and sterol profiles being very similar to those of modern radish seeds. The only significant differences were hydrolysis of triacylglycerols and depletion of the polyunsaturated fatty acids (C18:2 and C18:3). The delta 13 C values of the principal fatty acids were in the range -25.4 to -29.2/1000, which is congruent with modern radish (C3 seeds) taking account of isotopic shifts caused by recent changes in atmospheric CO2. Deoxyribonucleosides and nucleic acid bases were detected by direct chemical analysis, and polymerase chain reactions gave products with sequences comparable to those from modern radish. The degree of lipid preservation, which was much greater than that reported for other archaeological remains, suggests that the microenvironment within desiccated seeds retards biomolecular decay. The results illustrate the utility of combined lipid-nucleic acid analysis in chemotaxonomic and genotypic studies of archaeobotanical remains.
K O'Donoghue; A Clapham; R P Evershed; T A Brown
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Comparative Study; Historical Article; Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society     Volume:  263     ISSN:  0962-8452     ISO Abbreviation:  Proc. Biol. Sci.     Publication Date:  1996 May 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1996-08-09     Completed Date:  1996-08-09     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101245157     Medline TA:  Proc Biol Sci     Country:  ENGLAND    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  541-7     Citation Subset:  IM; Q    
Department of Biochemistry and Applied Molecular Biology, UMIST, Manchester, U.K.
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MeSH Terms
Base Sequence
DNA, Plant / genetics,  isolation & purification
Evolution, Molecular
Fatty Acids / analysis
History, Ancient
Lipids / isolation & purification
Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
Molecular Sequence Data
Polymerase Chain Reaction
Seeds / chemistry*,  genetics,  ultrastructure
Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
Sterols / analysis
Reg. No./Substance:
0/DNA, Plant; 0/Fatty Acids; 0/Lipids; 0/Sterols

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