Special Issue "Metabolomics in Agriculture Volume 2"

A special issue of Metabolites (ISSN 2218-1989). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant Science".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 16 August 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Ian Dubery
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Interests: plant metabolomics; plant-microbe interactions; plant stress responses; secondary metabolites
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Lizelle A. Piater
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Interests: plant innate immunity; plant biochemistry; plant–pathogen interactions
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Fidele Tugizimana
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
University of Johannesburg, South Africa & Omnia Group (Ltd).
Interests: metabolomics; chemometrics; metabolic pathways; mass spectrometry; metabolite identification
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

During the last decade, metabolomics has developed from an emerging field to becoming an essential aspect in almost every study in plant biology. Such small molecules (primary and secondary metabolites, with molecular masses ≤ 1500 Da) constitute the end products of gene expression and define the phenotype of a cell or tissue under defined physiological conditions at the biochemical level. As a post-genomic approach, metabolomics has proven to be a powerful and indispensable tool for interrogating cellular biochemistry and investigating metabolism and its reciprocal crosstalk with cellular signaling and regulation.  The recent resurgence of interest in metabolism and increasing awareness about the physiological insights that can be obtained by measuring the total small-molecule complement of a biological system have made metabolomics a central pillar in systems biology approaches. Metabolite profile patterns can thus provide a holistic signature of the physiological state under study as well as deeper knowledge of specific biochemical processes.

This Special Issue is devoted to Metabolomics in Agriculture, and the topics that will be covered include (not exclusively) studies on the metabolomic analyses of host responses to biotic stresses such as pathogen infection and insect attacks; mechanisms of adaptation to abiotic stresses such as drought, heat and salt and the mitigating effects of bio-stimulants; and the optimization and development of crop traits to enhance diet and health.

Prof. Dr. Ian Dubery
Prof. Dr. Lizelle A. Piater
Dr. Fidele Tugizimana
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Metabolites is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Agricultural biotechnology
  • Metabolomics
  • Metabolic networks
  • Biotic – and abiotic stress
  • Stress adaptation

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Metabolomics for Biomarker Discovery: Key Signatory Metabolic Profiles for the Identification and Discrimination of Oat Cultivars
Metabolites 2021, 11(3), 165; https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo11030165 - 12 Mar 2021
Viewed by 332
Abstract
The first step in crop introduction—or breeding programmes—requires cultivar identification and characterisation. Rapid identification methods would therefore greatly improve registration, breeding, seed, trade and inspection processes. Metabolomics has proven to be indispensable in interrogating cellular biochemistry and phenotyping. Furthermore, metabolic fingerprints are chemical [...] Read more.
The first step in crop introduction—or breeding programmes—requires cultivar identification and characterisation. Rapid identification methods would therefore greatly improve registration, breeding, seed, trade and inspection processes. Metabolomics has proven to be indispensable in interrogating cellular biochemistry and phenotyping. Furthermore, metabolic fingerprints are chemical maps that can provide detailed insights into the molecular composition of a biological system under consideration. Here, metabolomics was applied to unravel differential metabolic profiles of various oat (Avena sativa) cultivars (Magnifico, Dunnart, Pallinup, Overberg and SWK001) and to identify signatory biomarkers for cultivar identification. The respective cultivars were grown under controlled conditions up to the 3-week maturity stage, and leaves and roots were harvested for each cultivar. Metabolites were extracted using 80% methanol, and extracts were analysed on an ultra-high performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC) system coupled to a quadrupole time-of-flight (qTOF) high-definition mass spectrometer analytical platform. The generated data were processed and analysed using multivariate statistical methods. Principal component analysis (PCA) models were computed for both leaf and root data, with PCA score plots indicating cultivar-related clustering of the samples and pointing to underlying differential metabolic profiles of these cultivars. Further multivariate analyses were performed to profile differential signatory markers, which included carboxylic acids, amino acids, fatty acids, phenolic compounds (hydroxycinnamic and hydroxybenzoic acids, and associated derivatives) and flavonoids, among the respective cultivars. Based on the key signatory metabolic markers, the cultivars were successfully distinguished from one another in profiles derived from both leaves and roots. The study demonstrates that metabolomics can be used as a rapid phenotyping tool for cultivar differentiation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metabolomics in Agriculture Volume 2)
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Open AccessArticle
An Ascophyllum nodosum-Derived Biostimulant Protects Model and Crop Plants from Oxidative Stress
Metabolites 2021, 11(1), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo11010024 - 31 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 713
Abstract
Abiotic stresses, which at the molecular level leads to oxidative damage, are major determinants of crop yield loss worldwide. Therefore, considerable efforts are directed towards developing strategies for their limitation and mitigation. Here the superoxide-inducing agent paraquat (PQ) was used to generate oxidative [...] Read more.
Abiotic stresses, which at the molecular level leads to oxidative damage, are major determinants of crop yield loss worldwide. Therefore, considerable efforts are directed towards developing strategies for their limitation and mitigation. Here the superoxide-inducing agent paraquat (PQ) was used to generate oxidative stress in the model species Arabidopsis thaliana and the crops tomato and pepper. Pre-treatment with the biostimulant SuperFifty (SF) effectively and universally suppressed PQ-induced leaf lesions, H2O2 build up, cell destruction and photosynthesis inhibition. To further investigate the stress responses and SF-induced protection at the molecular level, we investigated the metabolites by GC-MS metabolomics. PQ induced specific metabolic changes such as accumulation of free amino acids (AA) and stress metabolites. These changes were fully prevented by the SF pre-treatment. Moreover, the metabolic changes of the specific groups were tightly correlating with their phenotypic characteristics. Overall, this study presents physiological and metabolomics data which shows that SF protects against oxidative stress in all three plant species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metabolomics in Agriculture Volume 2)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Biostimulants for Plant Growth and Mitigation of Abiotic Stresses: A Metabolomics Perspective
Metabolites 2020, 10(12), 505; https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo10120505 - 10 Dec 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 964
Abstract
Adverse environmental conditions due to climate change, combined with declining soil fertility, threaten food security. Modern agriculture is facing a pressing situation where novel strategies must be developed for sustainable food production and security. Biostimulants, conceptually defined as non-nutrient substances or microorganisms with [...] Read more.
Adverse environmental conditions due to climate change, combined with declining soil fertility, threaten food security. Modern agriculture is facing a pressing situation where novel strategies must be developed for sustainable food production and security. Biostimulants, conceptually defined as non-nutrient substances or microorganisms with the ability to promote plant growth and health, represent the potential to provide sustainable and economically favorable solutions that could introduce novel approaches to improve agricultural practices and crop productivity. Current knowledge and phenotypic observations suggest that biostimulants potentially function in regulating and modifying physiological processes in plants to promote growth, alleviate stresses, and improve quality and yield. However, to successfully develop novel biostimulant-based formulations and programs, understanding biostimulant-plant interactions, at molecular, cellular and physiological levels, is a prerequisite. Metabolomics, a multidisciplinary omics science, offers unique opportunities to predictively decode the mode of action of biostimulants on crop plants, and identify signatory markers of biostimulant action. Thus, this review intends to highlight the current scientific efforts and knowledge gaps in biostimulant research and industry, in context of plant growth promotion and stress responses. The review firstly revisits models that have been elucidated to describe the molecular machinery employed by plants in coping with environmental stresses. Furthermore, current definitions, claims and applications of plant biostimulants are pointed out, also indicating the lack of biological basis to accurately postulate the mechanisms of action of plant biostimulants. The review articulates briefly key aspects in the metabolomics workflow and the (potential) applications of this multidisciplinary omics science in the biostimulant industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metabolomics in Agriculture Volume 2)
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