Polyphenol metabolism provides a screening tool for beneficial effects of Onobrychis viciifolia (sainfoin). Phytochemistry. 82, 67-80

Abstract: Onobrychis viciifolia (sainfoin) is a traditional fodder legume showing multiple benefits for the environment, animal health and productivity but weaker agronomic performance in comparison to other legumes. Benefits can be mainly ascribed to the presence of polyphenols. The polyphenol metabolism in O. viciifolia was studied at the level of gene expression, enzyme activity, polyphenol accumulation and antioxidant activity. A screening of 37 accessions regarding each of these characters showed a huge variability between individual samples. Principal component analysis revealed that flavonols and flavan 3-ols are the most relevant variables for discrimination of the accessions. The determination of the activities of dihydroflavonol 4-reductase and flavonol synthase provides a suitable screening tool for the estimation of the ratio of flavonols to flavan 3-ols and can be used for the selection of samples from those varieties that have a specific optimal ratio of these compounds for further breeding.