Journal Article

Differences in the Metabolite Profiles of Spinach (<i>Spinacia oleracea</i> L.) Leaf in Different Concentrations of Nitrate in the Culture Solution

Keiki Okazaki, Norikuni Oka, Takuro Shinano, Mitsuru Osaki and Masako Takebe

in Plant and Cell Physiology

Published on behalf of Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists

Volume 49, issue 2, pages 170-177
Published in print February 2008 | ISSN: 0032-0781
Published online February 2008 | e-ISSN: 1471-9053 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/pcp/pcm173
Differences in the Metabolite Profiles of Spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.) Leaf in Different Concentrations of Nitrate in the Culture Solution

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  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry

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The nitrogen (N) status of a plant determines the composition of its major components (amino acids, proteins, carbohydrates and organic acids) and, directly or indirectly, affects the quality of agricultural products in terms of their calorific value and taste. Although these effects are guided by changes in metabolic pathways, no overall metabolic analysis has previously been conducted to demonstrate such effects. Here, metabolite profiling using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS) was used to evaluate the effect of N levels on spinach tissue, comparing two cultivars that differed in their ability to use N. Wide variation in N content was observed without any distinct inhibition of growth in either cultivar. Principal component analysis (PCA) and self-organizing mapping (SOM) were undertaken to describe changes in the metabolites of mature spinach leaves. In PCA, the first component accounted for 44.5% of the total variance, the scores of which was positively correlated with the plant's N content, and a close relationship between metabolite profiles and N status was observed. Both PCA and SOM revealed that metabolites could be broadly divided into two types, correlating either positively or negatively with plant N content. The simple and co-coordinated metabolic stream, containing both general and spinach-specific aspects of plant N content, will be useful in future research on such topics as the detection of environmental effects on spinach through comprehensive metabolic profiling.

Keywords: GC-MS; Metabolome; Nitrogen; Spinacia oleracea

Journal Article.  4986 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biochemistry ; Molecular and Cell Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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