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Open AccessArticle

Metabolite Profiling and Classification of Developing Styrax tonkinensis Kernels

by Qikui Wu 1, Xue Zhao 1,2, Chen Chen 1, Zihan Zhang 1,3 and Fangyuan Yu 1,*
Collaborative Innovation Center of Sustainable Forestry in Southern China, College of Forest Science, Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing 210037, China
Mingguang Forestry Station, Mingguang 239400, China
State Key Laboratory of Tree Genetics and Breeding & Key Laboratory of Tree Breeding and Cultivation, State Forestry Administration, Research Institute of Forestry, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Haidian, Beijing 100000, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Metabolites 2020, 10(1), 21;
Received: 4 December 2019 / Revised: 21 December 2019 / Accepted: 30 December 2019 / Published: 1 January 2020
Background: Styrax tonkinensis is an economic tree species with high timber, medicine, oil, and ornamental value. Its seed, containing a particularly high oil content, are widely studied for their biodiesel properties by nutritional components and oil body ultrastructure. However, their comprehensive biochemical compositions have not been studied. Methods: During S. tonkinensis kernel development, we collected samples from four time points for metabolite profiling and classification through gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. Results: A total of 187 and 1556 metabolites were obtained, respectively. All of the metabolites were grouped into 19 and 21 classes by their chemical properties and into 8 clusters based on their change trends, respectively. Among all the metabolites, carboxylic acids and derivatives, flavonoids, fatty acyls, glycerophospholipids, organooxygen compounds, prenol lipids, and steroids and steroid derivatives were the main components. Alanine, glutamine, tryptophan, tyrosine and valine were the five most abundant amino acids. Palmitic acid, stearic acid, oleic acid and linoleic acid were the four major free fatty acids. Flavans, flavonoid glycosides and o-methylated flavonoids were the three major flavonoids. The differential metabolites distributions between different time points were identified. A pathway enrichment was performed, which was mainly focused on three groups, amino acids metabolism, carbon flow from sucrose to lipid and secondary metabolites biosynthesis. Conclusions: It’s the first time to analyze the metabolite fingerprinting for developing S. tonkinensis kernels and identify varied kinds of flavonoids. We performed metabolite profiling, classification and pathway enrichment to assess the comprehensive biochemical compositions. Our results described the change in major metabolites and main metabolic processes during S. tonkinensis kernel development and provided a variety of bases for seed applications as biofuel or medicine. View Full-Text
Keywords: Styrax tonkinensis; kernel development; metabolome analysis; metabolite classification Styrax tonkinensis; kernel development; metabolome analysis; metabolite classification
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Wu, Q.; Zhao, X.; Chen, C.; Zhang, Z.; Yu, F. Metabolite Profiling and Classification of Developing Styrax tonkinensis Kernels. Metabolites 2020, 10, 21.

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