Metabolic Profiling of Phloem Exudates as a Tool to Improve Bread-Wheat Cultivars
In a proof of concept study aimed at showing that metabolites in bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L. ssp. aestivum), phloem exudates have potential as biochemical markers for cultivar discrimination, Argentinean cultivars from three quality groups (groups 1, 2, and 3 of high, intermediate, and low quality, respectively) were grown under two nitrogen (N) availabilities and analysed for metabolic profile by electrospray ionisation mass spectrometry. Data as signal strengths of mass/charge (m/z) values binned to a resolution of 0.2 Daltons were subjected to principal component analysis and orthogonal projections to latent structures discriminant analysis. Certain bins were influential in discriminating groups taken in pairs and some were involved in separating all three groups. In high N availability, group 3 cultivars clustered away from the other cultivars, while group 1 cultivars clustered tightly together; group 2 cultivars were more scattered between group 1 and group 3 cultivars. In low N availability, the cultivars were not clustered as tightly; nonetheless, group 1 cultivars tended to cluster together and mainly separated from those of group 2. m/z values also showed potential for discrimination between N availability. In conclusion, phloem exudate metabolic profiles could provide biochemical markers for selection during breeding and for discerning the effects of N fertiliser application.