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Special Issue "Alliums: Traditional Uses, Phytochemistry and Biological Activities"

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049). This special issue belongs to the section "Natural Products Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Masayoshi Shigyo
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Yamaguchi University, Yamaguchi, Japan
Interests: plant genetics; plant breeding; functional food; plant genomics; horticultural crop, alliums; the genetics and breeding of vegetable crops; novel onion
Dr. Mostafa Abdelrahman
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Laboratory of Molecular Breeding, Arid Land Research Center, Tottori University, Japan
Interests: transcripotme and metabolome dynamics in crop responses to environmental stress; natural products; saponins; flavonoids; plant-microbe interactions; metabolic pathway

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Plants produce a diverse array of primary and secondary metabolites to protect themselves and to communicate with the components of their ecosystem. In the field of omic technology, metabolomics—the large-scale study of metabolites—represents a powerful approach, which directly reflect the underlying global biochemical activity, physiological conditions, and metabolic state of biological systems. Therefore, metabolites are closely correlated to phenotype and can bridge the gap between the phenotype and genoptype of biological systems.

Allium is an enormous genus that compromises several economically important crops, including the bulb onion (Allium cepa), shallot (the A. cepa Aggregatum group), Japanese bunching onion (A. fistulosum), garlic (A. sativum), chive (A. schoenoprasum), Chinese chive (A. tuberosum), and leek (A. ampeloprasum). Onions and garlic are some of the earliest domesticated horticultural crops and have been widely cultivated and prized for their medicinal, nutritional, and culinary properties. Allium is a rich source of diverse metabolites, such as amino acids, phenolics, fructooligosaccharides, and organosulfure compounds. The Allium metabolites not only affect economically important traits such as color, flavor, and pungency, but also play an important role in plant physiology and in promoting human health. Thus, Allium metabolomics may reveal the agricultural potential of Allium.

This Special Issue will highlight research articles and critical reviews analyzing the role of metabolomics in the Allium crops. It will consider the many translations and applications of metabolomics, including sample handling and analytical development challenges, data analysis, metabolic modeling, and network analysis. Large-scale association studies and integrative omics and the inherent bioinformatics and computing challenges will also be considered. Articles focusing on the current potential of Allium metabolomics for Allium breeding, including comparative genotyping, natural products, medicinal properties, and plant–environment interactions, are highly desired. If you are interested in submitting an article to this Special Issue, you may direct any questions you have to the Guest Editor.

Dr. Masayoshi Shigyo
Dr. Mostafa Abdelrahman
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. Molecules is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 2000 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

  • Allium metabolomics
  • natural products
  • isolation and quantification of saponin, organosulfure compounds, and phenolics in Allium crops
  • metabolic changes of Allium crops in response to biotic and abiotic stress
  • selection and genetic manipulation
  • integrated metabolome–transcriptome of Allium crops
  • LC/MS and GC/MS applications for Allium metabolites

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Comprehensive Metabolite Profiling in Genetic Resources of Garlic (Allium sativum L.) Collected from Different Geographical Regions
Molecules 2021, 26(5), 1415; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26051415 - 05 Mar 2021
Viewed by 686
Abstract
Garlic (Allium sativum) is the second most important Allium crop that has been used as a vegetable and condiment from ancient times due to its characteristic flavor and taste. Although garlic is a sterile plant that reproduces vegetatively through cloves, garlic [...] Read more.
Garlic (Allium sativum) is the second most important Allium crop that has been used as a vegetable and condiment from ancient times due to its characteristic flavor and taste. Although garlic is a sterile plant that reproduces vegetatively through cloves, garlic shows high biodiversity, as well as phenotypic plasticity and environmental adaptation capacity. To determine the possible mechanism underlying this phenomenon and to provide new genetic materials for the development of a novel garlic cultivar with useful agronomic traits, the metabolic profiles in the leaf tissue of 30 garlic accessions collected from different geographical regions, with a special focus on the Asian region, were investigated using LC/MS. In addition, the total saponin and fructan contents in the roots and cloves of the investigated garlic accessions were also evaluated. Total saponin and fructan contents did not separate the garlic accessions based on their geographical origin, implying that saponin and fructan contents were clone-specific and agroclimatic changes have affected the quantitative and qualitative levels of saponins in garlic over a long history of cultivation. Principal component analysis (PCA) and dendrogram clustering of the LC/MS-based metabolite profiling showed two major clusters. Specifically, many Japanese and Central Asia accessions were grouped in cluster I and showed high accumulations of flavonol glucosides, alliin, and methiin. On the other hand, garlic accessions grouped in cluster II exhibited a high accumulation of anthocyanin glucosides and amino acids. Although most of the accessions were not separated based on country of origin, the Central Asia accessions were clustered in one group, implying that these accessions exhibited distinct metabolic profiles. The present study provides useful information that can be used for germplasm selection and the development of new garlic varieties with beneficial biotic and abiotic stress-adaptive traits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alliums: Traditional Uses, Phytochemistry and Biological Activities)
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Open AccessArticle
Chemical Characterization and Antibiofilm Activities of Bulbs and Leaves of Two Aglione (Allium ampeloprasum var. holmense Asch. et Graebn.) Landraces Grown in Southern Italy
Molecules 2020, 25(23), 5486; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25235486 - 24 Nov 2020
Viewed by 516
Abstract
The present study was carried out to determine some biochemical characteristics, in particular the total polyphenol content and the free radical scavenging activity, of the extracts recovered from bulbs and aerial parts (these last often considered as by-products) of two landraces of A. [...] Read more.
The present study was carried out to determine some biochemical characteristics, in particular the total polyphenol content and the free radical scavenging activity, of the extracts recovered from bulbs and aerial parts (these last often considered as by-products) of two landraces of A. ampeloprasum var. holmense cultivated in Southern Italy. For the first time, the capacity of the extracts of these landraces to inhibit the formation of biofilm of different Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria and to affect the metabolism of the cells present within the bacterial biofilm was evaluated. All extracts exhibited an amount of total polyphenols not lower than 2.86 mg/g of dried product and revealed a noteworthy antioxidant activity, with EC50 values not exceeding 4.95 mg. In both cases, the aerial parts extracts were more effective than the bulb extracts, which also showed a minor amount of total polyphenols. The extracts inhibited mainly the adhesive capability of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus, by 95.78% and 85.01%, respectively. The extracts demonstrated to inhibit also the metabolism of the bacterial cells reaching levels up to 90%. Finally, as assessed by the assays performed on the 24-h preformed biofilms, all the extracts were also capable to cause a reduction in bacterial biomass and to affect their metabolism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alliums: Traditional Uses, Phytochemistry and Biological Activities)
Open AccessArticle
Metabolome-Based Discrimination Analysis of Shallot Landraces and Bulb Onion Cultivars Associated with Differences in the Amino Acid and Flavonoid Profiles
Molecules 2020, 25(22), 5300; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25225300 - 13 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 891
Abstract
Shallot landraces and varieties are considered an important genetic resource for Allium breeding due to their high contents of several functional metabolites. Aiming to provide new genetic materials for the development of a novel bulb onion cultivar derived from intraspecific hybrids with useful [...] Read more.
Shallot landraces and varieties are considered an important genetic resource for Allium breeding due to their high contents of several functional metabolites. Aiming to provide new genetic materials for the development of a novel bulb onion cultivar derived from intraspecific hybrids with useful agronomic traits from shallots, the metabolic profiles in the bulbs of 8 Indonesian shallot landraces and 7 short-day and 3 long-day bulb onion cultivars were established using LC–Q-TOF-MS/MS. Principal component analysis, partial least squares discriminant analysis, and dendrogram clustering analysis showed two major groups; group I contained all shallot landraces and group II contained all bulb onion cultivars, indicating that shallots exhibited a distinct metabolic profile in comparison with bulb onions. Variable importance in the projection and Spearman’s rank correlation indicated that free and conjugated amino acids, flavonoids (especially metabolites having flavonol aglycone), and anthocyanins, as well as organic acids, were among the top metabolite variables that were highly associated with shallot landraces. The absolute quantification of 21 amino acids using conventional HPLC analysis showed high contents in shallots rather than in bulb onions. The present study indicated that shallots reprogrammed their metabolism toward a high accumulation of amino acids and flavonoids as an adaptive mechanism in extremely hot tropical environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alliums: Traditional Uses, Phytochemistry and Biological Activities)
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Open AccessArticle
Reflectance Spectroscopy for Non-Destructive Measurement and Genetic Analysis of Amounts and Types of Epicuticular Waxes on Onion Leaves
Molecules 2020, 25(15), 3454; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25153454 - 29 Jul 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 711
Abstract
Epicuticular waxes on the surface of plant leaves are important for the tolerance to abiotic stresses and plant–parasite interactions. In the onion (Allium cepa L.), the variation for the amounts and types of epicuticular waxes is significantly associated with less feeding damage [...] Read more.
Epicuticular waxes on the surface of plant leaves are important for the tolerance to abiotic stresses and plant–parasite interactions. In the onion (Allium cepa L.), the variation for the amounts and types of epicuticular waxes is significantly associated with less feeding damage by the insect Thrips tabaci (thrips). Epicuticular wax profiles are measured using used gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GCMS), which is a labor intensive and relatively expensive approach. Biochemical spectroscopy is a non-destructive tool for measurement and analysis of physiological and chemical features of plants. This study used GCMS and full-range biochemical spectroscopy to characterize epicuticular waxes on seven onion accessions with visually glossy (low wax), semi-glossy (intermediate wax), or waxy (copious wax) foliage, as well as a segregating family from the cross of glossy and waxy onions. In agreement with previous studies, GCMS revealed that the three main waxes on the leaves of a wild type waxy onion were the ketone hentriacontanone-16 (H16) and fatty alcohols octacosanol-1 (Oct) and triacontanol-1 (Tri). The glossy cultivar “Odourless Greenleaf” had a unique phenotype with essentially no H16 and Tri and higher amounts of Oct and the fatty alcohol hexacosanol-1 (Hex). Hyperspectral reflectance profiles were measured on leaves of the onion accessions and segregating family, and partial least-squares regression (PLSR) was utilized to generate a spectral coefficient for every wavelength and prediction models for the amounts of the three major wax components. PLSR predictions were robust with independent validation coefficients of determination at 0.72, 0.70, and 0.42 for H16, Oct, and Tri, respectively. The predicted amounts of H16, Oct, and Tri are the result of an additive effect of multiple spectral features of different intensities. The variation of reflectance for H16, Oct, and Tri revealed unique spectral features at 2259 nm, 645 nm, and 730 nm, respectively. Reflectance spectroscopy successfully revealed a major quantitative trait locus (QTL) for amounts of H16, Oct, and Tri in the segregating family, agreeing with previous genetic studies. This study demonstrates that hyperspectral signatures can be used for non-destructive measurement of major waxes on onion leaves as a basis for rapid plant assessment in support of developing thrips-resistant onions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alliums: Traditional Uses, Phytochemistry and Biological Activities)
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Open AccessArticle
The Synergistic Antitumor Effect of 5-Fluorouracil Combined with Allicin against Lung and Colorectal Carcinoma Cells
Molecules 2020, 25(8), 1947; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25081947 - 22 Apr 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 919
Abstract
5-fluorouracil (5-FU) is an anticancer drug used to inhibit the proliferation of many different tumor cells. Since severe events are associated with this compound, its combination with different anticancer drugs or adjuvants would allow the use of a significantly lower dose of 5-FU. [...] Read more.
5-fluorouracil (5-FU) is an anticancer drug used to inhibit the proliferation of many different tumor cells. Since severe events are associated with this compound, its combination with different anticancer drugs or adjuvants would allow the use of a significantly lower dose of 5-FU. In this study, we highlighted that the combination of allicin with 5-FU inhibited the cell migration and proliferation of colorectal and lung cancer cells. 5-FU inhibited cell growth with a similar inhibitory concentration for both normal and tumor cells (~200µM), while allicin showed different inhibitory concentrations. With an IC50 of 8.625 µM, lung cancer cells were the most sensitive to allicin. Compared to 5-FU and allicin single-agent treatments, the co-treatment showed a reduced viability rate, with p < 0.05. The morphological changes were visible on all three cell lines, indicating that the treatment inhibited the proliferation of both normal and tumor cells. We highlighted different cell death mechanisms—apoptosis for lung cancer and a non-apoptotic cell death for colorectal cancer. The synergistic antitumor effect of 5-FU combined with allicin was visible against lung and colorectal carcinoma cells. Better results were obtained when a lower concentration of 5-FU was combined with allicin than the single-agent treatment at IC50. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alliums: Traditional Uses, Phytochemistry and Biological Activities)
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Open AccessArticle
Allium sativum Extract Chemical Composition, Antioxidant Activity and Antifungal Effect against Meyerozyma guilliermondii and Rhodotorula mucilaginosa Causing Onychomycosis
Molecules 2019, 24(21), 3958; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24213958 - 31 Oct 2019
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1804
Abstract
Onychomycosis is a major health problem due to its chronicity and resistance to therapy. Because some cases associate paronychia, any therapy must target the fungus and the inflammation. Medicinal plants represent an alternative for onychomycosis control. In the present work the antifungal and [...] Read more.
Onychomycosis is a major health problem due to its chronicity and resistance to therapy. Because some cases associate paronychia, any therapy must target the fungus and the inflammation. Medicinal plants represent an alternative for onychomycosis control. In the present work the antifungal and antioxidant activities of Alium sativum extract against Meyerozyma guilliermondii (Wick.) Kurtzman & M. Suzuki and Rhodotorula mucilaginosa (A. Jörg.) F.C. Harrison, isolated for the first time from a toenail onychomycosis case, were investigated. The fungal species were confirmed by DNA molecular analysis. A. sativum minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and ultrastructural effects were examined. At the MIC concentration (120 mg/mL) the micrographs indicated severe structural alterations with cell death. The antioxidant properties of the A. sativum extract were evaluated is a rat turpentine oil induced inflammation, and compared to an anti-inflammatory drug, diclofenac, and the main compound from the extract, allicin. A. sativum reduced serum total oxidative status, malondialdehyde and nitric oxide production, and increased total thiols. The effects were comparable to those of allicin and diclofenac. In conclusion, the garlic extract had antifungal effects against M. guilliermondii and R. mucilaginosa, and antioxidant effect in turpentine-induced inflammation. Together, the antifungal and antioxidant activities support that A. sativum is a potential alternative treatment in onychomycosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alliums: Traditional Uses, Phytochemistry and Biological Activities)
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Review

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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Prevailing Knowledge on the Bioavailability and Biological Activities of Sulphur Compounds from Alliums: A Potential Drug Candidate
Molecules 2020, 25(18), 4111; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25184111 - 09 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 808
Abstract
Allium sativum (garlic) is widely known and is consumed as a natural prophylactic worldwide. It produces more than 200 identified chemical compounds, with more than 20 different kinds of sulfide compounds. The sulfide compounds particularly are proven to contribute to its various biological [...] Read more.
Allium sativum (garlic) is widely known and is consumed as a natural prophylactic worldwide. It produces more than 200 identified chemical compounds, with more than 20 different kinds of sulfide compounds. The sulfide compounds particularly are proven to contribute to its various biological roles and pharmacological properties such as antimicrobial, antithrombotic, hypoglycemic, antitumour, and hypolipidemic. Therefore, it is often referred as disease-preventive food. Sulphur-containing compounds from A. sativum are derivatives of S-alkenyl-l-cysteine sulfoxides, ajoene molecules, thiosulfinates, sulfides, and S-allylcysteine. This review presents an overview of the water-soluble and oil-soluble sulphur based phytochemical compounds present in garlic, highlighting their mechanism of action in treating various health conditions. However, its role as a therapeutic agent should be extensively studied as it depends on factors such as the effective dosage and the suitable method of preparation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alliums: Traditional Uses, Phytochemistry and Biological Activities)
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