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J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Nov 29;54(24):8984-94.

Applications of metabolomics in agriculture.

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  • 1Plant Biology Division, Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, 2510 Sam Noble Parkway, Ardmore, OK 73401, USA.


Biological systems are exceedingly complex. The unraveling of the genome in plants and humans revealed fewer than the anticipated number of genes. Therefore, other processes such as the regulation of gene expression, the action of gene products, and the metabolic networks resulting from catalytic proteins must make fundamental contributions to the remarkable diversity inherent in living systems. Metabolomics is a relatively new approach aimed at improved understanding of these metabolic networks and the subsequent biochemical composition of plants and other biological organisms. Analytical tools within metabolomics including mass spectrometry (MS) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy can profile the impact of time, stress, nutritional status, and environmental perturbation on hundreds of metabolites simultaneously resulting in massive, complex data sets. This information, in combination with transcriptomics and proteomics, has the potential to generate a more complete picture of the composition of food and feed products, to optimize crop trait development, and to enhance diet and health. Selected presentations from an American Chemical Society symposium held in March 2005 have been assembled to highlight the emerging application of metabolomics in agriculture.

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