Meeting Abstract

P1.84  Wednesday, Jan. 4  Phytoestrogen Variation among Organs of Soybeans MORGAN, H.E.*; EDWARDS, T.M.; Louisiana Tech University; Lousiana Tech University

We collected tissue samples from different organs of reproductive soybeans to examine how phytoestrogen concentrations vary throughout the plant. The activity of phytoestrogens have been most heavily researched within herbivores where they act as exogenous hormones upon being hydrolytically cleaved in their digestive tract. Phytoestrogens emulate the effects of estradiol by binding to estrogen receptors alpha and beta (ESR1 and ESR2), but with a much lower affinity than endogenous estrogens. Additionally, they act as selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) by activating the receptors in some cells and inhibiting the receptors in other cells. The ability of phytoestrogens to interact with estrogen signaling can lead to altered gene expression in body cells; these interactions have been linked to various health benefits such as increased heart health and reduced chance of osteoporosis. In this study, our objective was to better understand the significance of phytoestrogens in plants. Soybeans have high phytoestrogen concentrations relative to other common vegetables, making them a good model for the study of phytoestrogen variation. For phytoestrogen analysis, fresh plant tissues from leaves, roots, stems, seed pods, and seeds were disrupted using a blender or mortar and pestle and extracted for 24 – 48 hours in 55% ethanol. Extracts were filtered, concentrated by evaporation under nitrogen, and reconstituted to a known concentration. Extracts were tested for estrogenicity using a yeast reporter gene system expressing human ESR1 and ESR2. Our results suggest that phytoestrogen concentrations vary among plant organs, which allows us to speculate that phytoestrogens may play a significant role in the activities of organs where they are found in highest abundance.