Research Article

Isolation of high quality and polysaccharide-free DNA from leaves of Dimorphandra mollis (Leguminosae), a tree from the Brazilian Cerrado

Published: March 22, 2012
Genet. Mol. Res. 11 (1) : 756-764 DOI: 10.4238/2012.March.22.6

Abstract

Dimorphandra mollis (Leguminosae), known as faveiro and fava d’anta, is a tree that is widely distributed throughout the Brazilian Cerrado (a savanna-like biome). This species is economically valuable and has been extensively exploited because its fruits contain the flavonoid rutin, which is used to produce medications for human circulatory diseases. Knowledge about its genetic diversity is needed to guide decisions about the conservation and rational use of this species in order to maintain its diversity. DNA extraction is an essential step for obtaining good results in a molecular analysis. However, DNA isolation from plants is usually compromised by excessive contamination by secondary metabolites. DNA extraction of D. mollis, mainly from mature leaves, results in a highly viscous mass that is difficult to handle and use in techniques that require pure DNA. We tested four protocols for plant DNA extraction that can be used to minimize problems such as contamination by polysaccharides, which is more pronounced in material from mature leaves. The protocol that produced the best DNA quality initially utilizes a sorbitol buffer to remove mucilaginous polysaccharides. The macerated leaf material is washed with this buffer until there is no visible mucilage in the sample. This protocol is adequate for DNA extraction both from young and mature leaves, and could be useful not only for D. mollis but also for other species that have high levels of polysaccharide contamination during the extraction process.

Dimorphandra mollis (Leguminosae), known as faveiro and fava d’anta, is a tree that is widely distributed throughout the Brazilian Cerrado (a savanna-like biome). This species is economically valuable and has been extensively exploited because its fruits contain the flavonoid rutin, which is used to produce medications for human circulatory diseases. Knowledge about its genetic diversity is needed to guide decisions about the conservation and rational use of this species in order to maintain its diversity. DNA extraction is an essential step for obtaining good results in a molecular analysis. However, DNA isolation from plants is usually compromised by excessive contamination by secondary metabolites. DNA extraction of D. mollis, mainly from mature leaves, results in a highly viscous mass that is difficult to handle and use in techniques that require pure DNA. We tested four protocols for plant DNA extraction that can be used to minimize problems such as contamination by polysaccharides, which is more pronounced in material from mature leaves. The protocol that produced the best DNA quality initially utilizes a sorbitol buffer to remove mucilaginous polysaccharides. The macerated leaf material is washed with this buffer until there is no visible mucilage in the sample. This protocol is adequate for DNA extraction both from young and mature leaves, and could be useful not only for D. mollis but also for other species that have high levels of polysaccharide contamination during the extraction process.