Proanthocyanidin diversity in the EU ‘HealthyHay’ sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia) germplasm collection Phytochemistry 2012, 77, 197-208.

Abstract. This study investigated 37 diverse sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia Scop.) accessions from the EU ‘HealthyHay’ germplasm collection for proanthocyanidin (PA) content and composition. Accessions displayed a wide range of differences: PA contents varied from 0.57 to 2.80 g/100 g sainfoin; the mean degree of polymerisation from 12 to 84; the proportion of prodelphinidin tannins from 53 to 95%, and the proportion of trans-flavanol units from 12 to 34%. A positive correlation was found between PA contents (thiolytic versus acid-butanol degradation; P<0.001; R2=0.49). A negative correlation existed between PA content (thiolysis) and mDP (P<0.05; R2= –0.30), which suggested that accessions with high PA contents had smaller PA polymers. Cluster analysis revealed that European accessions clustered into two main groups: Western Europe and Eastern Europe/Asia. In addition, accessions from USA, Canada and Armenia tended to cluster together. Overall, there was broad agreement between tannin clusters and clusters that were based on morphological and agronomic characteristics.