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Untargeted metabotyping Lolium perenne reveals population-level variation in plant flavonoids and alkaloids

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-03, 16:03 authored by Mingshu CaoMingshu Cao, Karl FraserKarl Fraser, Chris Jones, Alan Stewart, Thomas Lyons, Marty FavilleMarty Faville, Brent BarrettBrent Barrett
Metabolomics provides a powerful platform to characterize plants at the biochemical level, allowing a search for underlying genes and associations with higher level complex traits such as yield and nutritional value. Efficient and reliable methods to characterize metabolic variation in economically important species are considered of high value to the evaluation and prioritization of germplasm and breeding lines. In this investigation, a large-scale metabolomic survey was performed on a collection of diverse perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) plants. A total of 2,708 data files, derived from liquid chromatography coupled to high resolution mass spectrometry (LCMS), were selected to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of applying high throughput metabolomics to survey chemical diversity in plant populations. The data set was generated from 23 ryegrass populations, with 3–25 genotypes per population, and five clonal replicates per genotype. We demonstrate an integrated approach to rapidly mine and analyze metabolic variation from this large, multi-batch LCMS data set. After performing quality control, statistical data mining and peak annotation, a wide range of variation for flavonoid glycosides and plant alkaloids was discovered among the populations. Structural variation of flavonoids occurs both in aglycone structures and acetylated/malonylated/feruloylated sugar moieties. The discovery of comprehensive metabolic variation among the plant populations offers opportunities to probe into the genetic basis of the variation, and provides a valuable resource to gain insight into biochemical functions and to relate metabolic variation with higher level traits in the species.


Rights statement

© 2017 Cao, Fraser, Jones, Stewart, Lyons, Faville and Barrett. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.


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Frontiers Media S.A.

Journal title

Frontiers in Plant Science




Cao, M., Fraser, K., Jones, C., Stewart, A., Lyons, T., Faville, M., & Barrett, B. (2017). Untargeted metabotyping Lolium perenne reveals population-level variation in plant flavonoids and alkaloids. Frontiers in Plant Science, 8, 133. doi:10.3389/fpls.2017.00133

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