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Metabolomic approaches to studying the response to drought stress in corn (Zea mays) cobs

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JournalMetabolites
DateAccepted/In press - 30 Jun 2021
DatePublished (current) - 3 Jul 2021
Issue number438
Volume11
Number of pages13
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Metabolomics is a technique that allows for the evaluation of the entire extractable chemical profile of a plant, for example, using high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) and can be used to evaluate plant stress responses, such as those due to drought. Metabolomic analysis is dependent upon the efficiency of the extraction protocol. Currently, there are two common extraction procedures widely used in metabolomic experiments, those that extract from plant tissue processed in liquid nitrogen or extraction from lyophilised plant tissues. Here, we evaluated the two using non-targeted metabolomics to show that lyophilisation can stabilise the maize (Zea mays) extractable metabolome, increasing throughput and efficiency of extraction as compared to the more traditional processing in liquid nitrogen. Then, we applied the lyophilisation approach to explore the effect of drought upon the maize metabolome in a non-targeted HRMS metabolomics approach. Metabolomics revealed differences in the mature maize metabolome having undergone three drought conditions imposed at two critical development stages (three-leaf stage and grain-fill stage); moreover, this difference was observed across two tissue types (kernel and inner cob/pith). It was shown that under ideal conditions, the biochemical make-up of the tissue types is different. However, under stress conditions, the stress response dominates the metabolic profile. Drought-related metabolites known from other plant systems have been identified and metabolomics has revealed potential novel drought-stress indicators in our maize system.

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
I.G. was supported by ACCE NERC DTP, grant number NE/L002450/1. J.B.S. was supported by H2020 Marie Sk?odowska-Curie Actions (706151). The York Centre of Excellence in Mass Spectrometry where the mass spectrometric analyses were carried out was created thanks to a major capital investment through Science City York, supported by Yorkshire Forward with funds from the Northern Way Initiative, and subsequent support from EPSRC (EP/K039660/1; EP/M028127/1).

Funding Information:
Funding: I.G. was supported by ACCE NERC DTP, grant number NE/L002450/1. J.B.S. was supported by H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (706151). The York Centre of Excellence in Mass Spectrometry where the mass spectrometric analyses were carried out was created thanks to a major capital investment through Science City York, supported by Yorkshire Forward with funds from the Northern Way Initiative, and subsequent support from EPSRC (EP/K039660/1; EP/M028127/1).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

    Research areas

  • Abiotic stress, Climate change, High-resolution mass spectrometry, LC-MS, Maize, Metabolomics

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