Canadian Forest Service Publications
Seasonal changes in the concentration of major taxanes in the biomass of wild Canada yew (Taxus canadensis Marsh.) 2008. Cameron, S.I.; Smith, R.F. Pharmaceutical Biology 46: 35-40.
Issued by: Atlantic Forestry Centre
Catalog ID: 28263
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Seasonal variations in taxane concentrations in Taxus canadensis Marsh. (Canada yew) were measured at 15 sampling dates from September 2004 to September 2005 by clipping 3-year-old shoots from the same 15 plants. Four age classes of needles and stems were separated and individually weighed and analyzed for the three major taxanes in T. canadensis: 10-deacetylbaccatin III (10-DAB III), 9-dihydro-13-acetylbaccatin III (9-DHAB III), and paclitaxel (PAC). The dry weight fraction of each foliage age class decreased with increasing age; that is, proportionately more young than old foliage (current > current + 1 year > current + 2 year) was present in a 3-year-old stem. The ratio of needle:stem dry weight also decreased with increasing foliage age. Taxane concentrations varied widely, depending on the tissue, its age, and time of year. Peak concentrations were observed for a short period at the end of the growing season (August-September). The lowest taxane levels were found during the period of active growth: April through July. PAC and 9-DHAB III concentrations were higher in needles, but young stems contained the highest amounts of 10-DAB III. Levels of all three taxanes were higher in young than in old stems, likely due to increasing amounts of taxane-poor stem wood. Composite taxane concentrations were calculated for 3-year-old foliage from the component needle and stem weights and taxane analyses. It is suggested that summer harvesting between April and July (the low point in annual taxane levels) yields the poorest quality biomass, and harvesting from August onward is preferable.