Appropriate experimental design and sample preparation are key steps in metabolomics experiments, highly influencing the biological interpretation of the results. The sample preparation workflow for plant metabolomics studies includes several steps before metabolite extraction and analysis. These include the optimization of laboratory procedures, which should be optimized for different plants and tissues. This is particularly the case for trees, whose tissues are complex matrices to work with due to the presence of several interferents, such as oleoresins, cellulose. A good experimental design, tree tissue harvest conditions, and sample preparation are crucial to ensure consistency and reproducibility of the metadata among datasets. In this review, we discuss the main challenges when setting up a forest tree metabolomics experiment for mass spectrometry (MS)-based analysis covering all technical aspects from the biological question formulation and experimental design to sample processing and metabolite extraction and data acquisition. We also highlight the importance of forest tree metadata standardization in metabolomics studies.
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