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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(2), 249; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19020249

GC-MS Metabolomics to Evaluate the Composition of Plant Cuticular Waxes for Four Triticum aestivum Cultivars

1
Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
2
Proteomics and Metabolomics Facility, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
3
Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
4
Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 December 2017 / Revised: 12 January 2018 / Accepted: 17 January 2018 / Published: 23 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metabolomics in the Plant Sciences 2017)
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Abstract

Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is an important food crop, and biotic and abiotic stresses significantly impact grain yield. Wheat leaf and stem surface waxes are associated with traits of biological importance, including stress resistance. Past studies have characterized the composition of wheat cuticular waxes, however protocols can be relatively low-throughput and narrow in the range of metabolites detected. Here, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) metabolomics methods were utilized to provide a comprehensive characterization of the chemical composition of cuticular waxes in wheat leaves and stems. Further, waxes from four wheat cultivars were assayed to evaluate the potential for GC-MS metabolomics to describe wax composition attributed to differences in wheat genotype. A total of 263 putative compounds were detected and included 58 wax compounds that can be classified (e.g., alkanes and fatty acids). Many of the detected wax metabolites have known associations to important biological functions. Principal component analysis and ANOVA were used to evaluate metabolite distribution, which was attributed to both tissue type (leaf, stem) and cultivar differences. Leaves contained more primary alcohols than stems such as 6-methylheptacosan-1-ol and octacosan-1-ol. The metabolite data were validated using scanning electron microscopy of epicuticular wax crystals which detected wax tubules and platelets. Conan was the only cultivar to display alcohol-associated platelet-shaped crystals on its abaxial leaf surface. Taken together, application of GC-MS metabolomics enabled the characterization of cuticular wax content in wheat tissues and provided relative quantitative comparisons among sample types, thus contributing to the understanding of wax composition associated with important phenotypic traits in a major crop. View Full-Text
Keywords: gas chromatography-mass spectrometry; scanning electron microscopy; cuticular wax; epicuticular wax crystal gas chromatography-mass spectrometry; scanning electron microscopy; cuticular wax; epicuticular wax crystal
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Lavergne, F.D.; Broeckling, C.D.; Cockrell, D.M.; Haley, S.D.; Peairs, F.B.; Jahn, C.E.; Heuberger, A.L. GC-MS Metabolomics to Evaluate the Composition of Plant Cuticular Waxes for Four Triticum aestivum Cultivars. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19, 249.

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