There are three metabolic fates of nicotinic acid in plants: (1) nicotinic acid mononucleotide formation for NAD synthesis by the so-called salvage pathway of pyridine nucleotide biosynthesis; (2) nicotinic acid N-glucoside formation; and (3) trigonelline (N-methylnicotinic acid) formation. In the present study, the metabolism of [carbonyl-14C]nicotinamide was investigated in leaves of 23 wild plant species. All species readily converted nicotinamide to nicotinic acid, and only a fraction of nicotinic acid was utilised for NAD and NADP synthesis. The remaining nicotinic acid is converted to the nicotinic acid conjugates. Only one plant species, Cycas revoluta, produced both nicotinic acid N-glucoside and trigonelline; the other 22 species produced one or other of the conjugates. The nicotinic acid N-glucoside-forming plants are Cyathea lepifera, Arenga trewmula var. englri, Barringtonia racemosa, Ilex paraguariensis, Angelica japonica, Scaevola taccada and Farfugium japonicum. In contrast, trigonelline is formed in C. lepifera, Ginkgo biloba, Pinus luchuensis, Casuarina equisetifolia, Alocasia odora, Pandanus odoratissimus, Hylocereus undatus, Kalanchoe pinnata, Kalanchoe tubiflora, Populus alba, Garcinia subelliptica, Oxalis corymbosa, Leucaena leucocephala, Vigna marina, Hibiscus tiliaceus and Melicope triphylla.The diversity of nicotinic acid conjugate formation in plants is discussed using these results and our previous investigation involving a few model plants, various crops and ferns. Nicotinic acid N-glucoside formation was restricted mostly to ferns and selected orders of angiosperms, whereas other plants produce trigonelline. In most cases the formation of both nicotinic acid conjugates is incompatible, but some exceptions have been found.
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