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Acetogenins (ACGs) are bioactive compounds with cytotoxic properties in different cell lines. They are antitumoural, antiparasitic, antimalarial, insecticidal, antimicrobial, antifungal and antibacterial. These secondary metabolites function in plant defence and are found in specific organelles and specific cells, thereby preventing toxicity to the plant itself and permitting site-specific defence. The aim of this work was to histochemically determine the in situ localisation of ACGs in the endosperm of Annona macroprophyllata seeds using Keddeâ€™s reagent. Additionally, the colocalisation of ACGs with other storage molecules was analysed. The seeds were analysed after 6 and 10 days of imbibition, when 1 or 2 cm of the radicle had emerged and metabolism was fully established. The seeds were then transversally cut in half at the midline and processed using different histological and histochemical techniques. Positive reactions with Keddeâ€™s reagent were only observed in fresh, unfixed sections that were preserved in water, and staining was found only in the large cells (the idioblasts) at the periphery of the endosperm. The ACGsâ€™ positive reaction with Sudan III corroborated their lipid nature. Paraffin sections stained with Naphthol Blue Black showed reactions in the endosperm parenchyma cells and stained the proteoplasts blue, indicating that they might correspond to storage sites for albumin-like proteins. Lugolâ€™s iodine, which is similar in chemical composition to Wagnerâ€™s reagent, caused a golden brown reaction product in the cytoplasm of the idioblasts, which may indicate the presence of alkaloids. Based on these results, we propose that Keddeâ€™s reagent is an appropriate histochemical stain for detecting ACGs in situ in idioblasts and that idioblasts store ACGs and probably alkaloids. ACGs that are located in idioblasts found in restricted, peripheral areas of the endosperm could serve as a barrier that protects the seeds against insects and pathogen attack.
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