Mammalian exocrine secretions. XII: Constituents of interdigital secretions of bontebok, Damaliscus dorcas dorcas, and blesbok, D. d. phillipsi

Burger, B. V. ; Nell, A. E. ; Spies, H. S. C. ; Le Roux, M. ; Bigalke, R. C. ; Brand, P. A. J. (1999-09)


In addition to the nine compounds identified in the interdigital secretion of the bontebok, Damaliscus dorcas dorcas, in a previous study, 76 compounds belonging to different compound types, were identified in the interdigital secretions of the bontebok and the blesbok, D. d. phillipsi. These compounds include alkanes, alcohols, aldehydes, ketones, fatty acids, terpenoids, γ-lactones, an isopropyl ester, long-chain hydroxyesters, 2- substituted pyridines, phenols, steroids, and dimethylsulfone. No qualitative differences were found between secretions from the two sexes or from animals from different habitats. Although no attempt was made to correlate territorial behavior or other behavioral phenomena with the qualitative composition of interdigital secretions from individual animals, available information seems to indicate that quantitative differences probably do not have a major semiochemical function. Only two species of bacteria, Bacillus brevis and Planococcus citreus, were found in the interdigital pouches of male and female members of the two subspecies, regardless of the habitat of the animals. B. brevis synthesized, among other unidentified constituents, (Z)-3-penten-2-ol, 2-hexanone, 2-octanone, 2-nonanone, tetradecanoic acid, pentadecanoic acid, heptadecanoic acid, octadecanoic acid, (Z)-9-hexadecenoic acid, and isopropyl hexadecanoate in vitro, while P. citreus produced, among others, the γ-lactones dodecan-4-olide and (Z)-6-dodecen-4-olide, which is one of the major constituents of the interdigital secretions of both subspecies. Some components of the interdigital secretions are not present in the interdigital glandular tissue, and the possibility is discussed that these compounds could be produced by microbiological activity in the interdigital pouch.

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