Proline Analogues

The discovery of substantial quantities of proline analogues (Figure 7) in the leaves of some Melaleuca species highlights a potentially commercial source of industrial chemical compounds. Coupled with the recent interest in biochemical changes in plants suffering water and salinity stress, is the ability of drought resistant species to accumulate proline and proline analogues including glycinebetaine. Investigations have shown that, when subject to water or salinity stress under glass house or laboratory conditions, proline (27) and trans-4-hydroxy-N-methyl-L-proline (29) in M. lanceolata and trans-4-hydroxy-N-methyl-L-proline (29) and N, N'-dimemyl-trans-4-hydroxy-L-proline (30) levels in M. uncinata increased (Naidu et al. 1987).

Further investigations are now translating these laboratory findings into field situations as trial plantings of M. bracteata, M. uncinata, M. lanceolata, M. populiflora and M. viridiflora are being established in eastern and north eastern Australia (Naidu 1997). The best species for the commercial production of proline analogues will be chosen for the production of natural agricultural chemicals which will alleviate stress and increase biomass yields in pastures and crops.

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