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Does the tannin level in plants go down or up after they die? Or does the tannin level stay the same regardless?

As they decay, do they release more tannins or does the production stop?

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  • $\begingroup$ What do you mean about go down/up? $\endgroup$
    – inf3rno
    Nov 3 '14 at 13:05
  • $\begingroup$ Well maybe I'm confused, but do plants not produce tannins? If they do does the production of the tannins stop after death? Does the level of tannic acid decay as the plan dies/Decays? $\endgroup$ Nov 3 '14 at 16:38
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Well maybe I'm confused, but do plants not produce tannins? If they do does the production of the tannins stop after death?

That depends on how you define death. Tannin is secondary product, so I don't think the plant cells will produce more tannin when they are starving probably because of cutting off the leaves, roots, etc... when the plant dies. The plant won't bother to degrade tannins (I guess it does not even have the pathway necessary to do that), because it is a defense mechanism against insects, mammalians, etc... and not an energy storage material. Tannins can be degraded by microbes, heat, UV radiation, chemical reactions, etc... So if you can't protect the tannins from all of these then they will degrade. (Note: you can't, all you can do is slowing down the process.)

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  • $\begingroup$ Exactly, what I was looking for. I wasn't sure exactly what would happen as a plant dies or ages. So tannins are like an inevitable process of ageing, you can't stop the Loss but you can delay the process. $\endgroup$ Nov 3 '14 at 22:44
  • $\begingroup$ @user3061879 I don't think tannins have anything to do with aging. It is for protection against animals. They have a decay rate, so the plant has to produce them life long. Producing tannins is costly, so many plant produce less tannins and rebuild leaves faster, so the amount of tannins depends on the species. link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00380050#page-1 $\endgroup$
    – inf3rno
    Nov 4 '14 at 12:22

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