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J Exp Bot. 2005 Jan;56(410):297-307. Epub 2004 Dec 13.

Metabolic profiling of leaves and fruit of wild species tomato: a survey of the Solanum lycopersicum complex.

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  • 1Department of Lothar Willmitzer, Max-Planck-Institut für Molekular Pflanzenphysiologie, Am Mühlenberg 1, D-14476 Golm, Germany.


The domestication of the tomato Solanum lycopersicum and associated selective pressures eventually led to the large-fruited varieties cultivated today. S. lycopersicum varieties are generally red-fruited, but display considerable variance in fruit colour intensity, shape, and quality. The increase in productivity on cultivation is, however, somewhat offset by the narrowing of the crops genetic base which leads to increased susceptibility to biotic and abiotic stresses. Since S. lycopersicum can easily be crossed with its wild species relatives, this exotic germplasm can provide a valuable source for the improvement of agriculturally important traits. A GC-MS based survey is presented here of the relative metabolic levels of leaves and fruit of S. lycopersicum and five wild species of tomato that can be crossed with it (S. pimpinellifolium, S. neorickii, S. chmielewskii, S. habrochaites, and S. pennellii). Changes in metabolite contents were identified in the wild species that are potentially important with respect to stress responses, as well as in metabolites of nutritional importance. The significance of these changes is discussed with respect to the use of the various wild species for metabolic engineering within wide breeding strategies.

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