This work presents the study of nonpolar compounds from plants belonging to the genus Paepalanthus Mart. (Eriocaulaceae). Long-chain linear aliphatic hydrocarbons were identified by GC-FID and GC-MS. The results indicate that Paepalanthus subg. Platycaulon species present a very homogenous profile, with carbon chains of n-alkanes ranging from C25 to C31, most samples presenting higher frequencies of C27 and C29 homologues. Paepalanthus subg. Paepalocephalus species may be distinguished from one another by the distribution of main n-alkanes. P. macrocephalus, subsect. Aphorocaulon species, presents alkanes with odd-carbon numbers and P. denudatus and P. polyanthus, Actinocephalus species, present alkanes with quite distinctive profiles, with many shorter chains and a high frequency of even-carbon number, especially P. polyanthus. The results obtained indicate that the distribution of alkanes can be a useful taxonomic character, as do polar compounds like flavonoid glycosides.
Paepalanthus; n-alkanes; GC-FID; GC-MS; chemotaxonomy