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Metabolomics: A Way Forward for Crop Improvement

1
Centre of Agricultural Biochemistry and Biotechnology (CABB), University of Agriculture, Faisalabad 38040, Pakistan
2
Oil Crops Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), Wuhan 430062, China
3
School of Agriculture and Biology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Metabolites 2019, 9(12), 303; https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo9120303
Received: 13 September 2019 / Revised: 2 December 2019 / Accepted: 11 December 2019 / Published: 14 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metabolomics of Plant Response to Environmental Stress)
Metabolomics is an emerging branch of “omics” and it involves identification and quantification of metabolites and chemical footprints of cellular regulatory processes in different biological species. The metabolome is the total metabolite pool in an organism, which can be measured to characterize genetic or environmental variations. Metabolomics plays a significant role in exploring environment–gene interactions, mutant characterization, phenotyping, identification of biomarkers, and drug discovery. Metabolomics is a promising approach to decipher various metabolic networks that are linked with biotic and abiotic stress tolerance in plants. In this context, metabolomics-assisted breeding enables efficient screening for yield and stress tolerance of crops at the metabolic level. Advanced metabolomics analytical tools, like non-destructive nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR), liquid chromatography mass-spectroscopy (LC-MS), gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), and direct flow injection (DFI) mass spectrometry, have sped up metabolic profiling. Presently, integrating metabolomics with post-genomics tools has enabled efficient dissection of genetic and phenotypic association in crop plants. This review provides insight into the state-of-the-art plant metabolomics tools for crop improvement. Here, we describe the workflow of plant metabolomics research focusing on the elucidation of biotic and abiotic stress tolerance mechanisms in plants. Furthermore, the potential of metabolomics-assisted breeding for crop improvement and its future applications in speed breeding are also discussed. Mention has also been made of possible bottlenecks and future prospects of plant metabolomics. View Full-Text
Keywords: metabolomics; metabolic profiling; crop improvement; abiotic stress; biotic stress; mass spectrometry; metabolomics-assisted breeding metabolomics; metabolic profiling; crop improvement; abiotic stress; biotic stress; mass spectrometry; metabolomics-assisted breeding
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MDPI and ACS Style

Razzaq, A.; Sadia, B.; Raza, A.; Khalid Hameed, M.; Saleem, F. Metabolomics: A Way Forward for Crop Improvement. Metabolites 2019, 9, 303.

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