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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(6), 821; doi:10.3390/ijms17060821

Metabolic Fingerprinting to Assess the Impact of Salinity on Carotenoid Content in Developing Tomato Fruits

Laboratory of Chemical Analysis, Department of Veterinary Public Health and Food Safety, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133, 9820 Merelbeke, Belgium
Laboratory of Plant Ecology, Department of Applied Ecology and Plant Biology, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Coupure Links 653, 9000 Gent, Belgium
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Ute Roessner
Received: 27 April 2016 / Revised: 18 May 2016 / Accepted: 19 May 2016 / Published: 26 May 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metabolomics in the Plant Sciences)
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As the presence of health-promoting substances has become a significant aspect of tomato fruit appreciation, this study investigated nutrient solution salinity as a tool to enhance carotenoid accumulation in cherry tomato fruit (Solanum lycopersicum L. cv. Juanita). Hereby, a key objective was to uncover the underlying mechanisms of carotenoid metabolism, moving away from typical black box research strategies. To this end, a greenhouse experiment with five salinity treatments (ranging from 2.0 to 5.0 decisiemens (dS) m−1) was carried out and a metabolomic fingerprinting approach was applied to obtain valuable insights on the complicated interactions between salinity treatments, environmental conditions, and the plant’s genetic background. Hereby, several hundreds of metabolites were attributed a role in the plant’s salinity response (at the fruit level), whereby the overall impact turned out to be highly depending on the developmental stage. In addition, 46 of these metabolites embraced a dual significance as they were ascribed a prominent role in carotenoid metabolism as well. Based on the specific mediating actions of the retained metabolites, it could be determined that altered salinity had only marginal potential to enhance carotenoid accumulation in the concerned tomato fruit cultivar. This study invigorates the usefulness of metabolomics in modern agriculture, for instance in modeling tomato fruit quality. Moreover, the metabolome changes that were caused by the different salinity levels may enclose valuable information towards other salinity-related plant processes as well. View Full-Text
Keywords: tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.); metabolic fingerprinting; mass spectrometry; salinity; carotenoids; phytohormones tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.); metabolic fingerprinting; mass spectrometry; salinity; carotenoids; phytohormones

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Van Meulebroek, L.; Hanssens, J.; Steppe, K.; Vanhaecke, L. Metabolic Fingerprinting to Assess the Impact of Salinity on Carotenoid Content in Developing Tomato Fruits. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17, 821.

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