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J Agric Food Chem. 2003 Apr 23;51(9):2548-54.

Metabolic profiling of root exudates of Arabidopsis thaliana.

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  • 1Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1173, USA.


In addition to accumulating biologically active chemicals, plant roots continuously produce and secrete compounds into their immediate rhizosphere. However, the mechanisms that drive and regulate root secretion of secondary metabolites are not fully understood. To enlighten two neglected areas of root biology, root secretion and secondary metabolism, an in vitro system implementing root-specific elicitation over a 48-day time course was developed. After roots of Arabidopsis thaliana had been elicited with salicylic acid, jasmonic acid, chitosan, and two fungal cell wall elicitors, the secondary metabolites subsequently secreted were profiled. High-performance liquid chromatography was used to metabolically profile compounds in the root exudates, and 289 possible secondary metabolites were quantified. The chemical structures of 10 compounds were further characterized by (1)H and (13)C NMR: butanoic acid, trans-cinnamic acid, o-coumaric acid, p-coumaric acid, ferulic acid, p-hydroxybenzamide, methyl p-hydroxybenzoate, 3-indolepropanoic acid, syringic acid, and vanillic acid. Several of these compounds exhibited a wide range of antimicrobial activity against both soil-borne bacteria and fungi at the concentration detected in the root exudates.

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