The effect of age on the composition and concentration of non-structural carbohydrate was determined in the “pine” or “head” of Agave atrovirens Karw. The influence of plant age on the 1-FFT enzymatic activity, the electrophoretic pattern of proteins and the non-structural carbohydrate yield were also determined to establish the optimum age for harvest. The carbohydrate composition of 6 years old pine was 69% sucrose and 4.4% inulin-type fructans. The 1-FFT enzymatic activity was higher at this age, and these results suggested a relationship between the activity of the 1-FFT enzyme and the concentration of fructans. Moreover, the results of the 1-FFT-enzymatic activities that differed among different years after planting of the agave suggest three phases of development in this plant. In addition, the age of the plant corresponded with changes in the conformation of the enzymatic complex, a trimer or dimer were observed at early and late ages, whereas 6 years old pines showed a monomer (MW 70 kDa). This last conformation is responsible for the chain elongation that forms inulin-type fructans with a DP≥30. In conclusion, the age of the plant has an influence on the 1-FFT enzymatic activities and the enzymatic complex conformation, therefore on the concentration of carbohydrates in A. atrovirens.
Key words: Carbohydrates, maguey, 1-FFT, inulin, Agave atrovirens.
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