The quality of plants is often enhanced for diverse purposes such as improved resistance to environmental pressures, better taste, and higher yields. Considering the world’s dependence on plants (nutrition, medicine, or biofuel), developing new cultivars with superior characteristics is of great importance. As part of the ‘omics’ approaches, metabolomics has been employed to investigate the large number of metabolites present in plant systems under well-defined environmental conditions. Recent advances in the metabolomics field have greatly expanded our understanding of plant metabolism, largely driven by potential application to agricultural systems. The current review presents the workflow for plant metabolome analyses, current knowledge, and future directions of such research as determinants of cultivar phenotypes. Furthermore, the value of metabolome analyses in contemporary crop science is illustrated. Here, metabolomics has provided valuable information in research on grain crops and identified significant biomarkers under different conditions and/or stressors. Moreover, the value of metabolomics has been redefined from simple biomarker identification to a tool for discovering active drivers involved in biological processes. We illustrate and conclude that the rapid advances in metabolomics are driving an explosion of information that will advance modern breeding approaches for grain crops and address problems associated with crop productivity and sustainable agriculture.
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