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Keywords:

  • Luxury consumption;
  • myo-inositolhexakiphosphate;
  • nutrients;
  • phosphorus;
  • phytate;
  • storage;
  • vascular epiphytes

Abstract

Phytic acid or phytate, the free-acid form of myo-inositolhexakiphosphate, is abundant in many seeds and fruits, where it represents the major storage form of phosphorus. Although also known from other plant tissues, available reports on the occurrence of phytic acid, e.g. in leaves, have never been compiled, nor have they been critically reviewed. We found 45 published studies with information on phytic acid content in leaves. Phytic acid was almost always detected when studies specifically tried to detect it, and accounted for up to 98% of total P. However, we argue that such extreme values, which rival findings from storage organs, are dubious and probably result from measurement errors. Excluding these high values from further quantitative analysis, foliar phytic acid-P averaged 2.3 mg·g−1, and represented, on average, 7.6% of total P. Remarkably, the ratio of phytic acid-P to total P did not increase with total P, we even detected a negative correlation of the two variables within one species, Manihot esculenta. This enigmatic finding warrants further attention.