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Sci Rep. 2017 Feb 13;7:42478. doi: 10.1038/srep42478.

Metabolomic tool to identify soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merrill] germplasms with a high level of shade tolerance at the seedling stage.

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Key Laboratory of Crop Ecophysiology and Farming System in Southwest, Ministry of Agriculture, Chengdu 611130, China.
Institute of Ecological Agriculture, Sichuan Agricultural University, Chengdu 611130, China.


The isoflavone profiles of seeds of various soybean genotypes with different levels of shade tolerance at the seedling stage were investigated. High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) was used to quantify 12 isoflavones, and the data were analyzed using a multivariate statistical analysis. Combined with field experimental data and an orthogonal partial least-squares discriminant analysis (OPLS-DA), several aglycones (genistein (GE), daidzein (DE), and glycitein (GLE)) were selected and identified as key compounds involved in the shade tolerance of soybean seedlings. Additional correlation analysis and laboratory shading stress experiments with soybean seedlings also confirmed the function of these selected isoflavones, especially GE, in the discrimination of soybean seedlings with different levels of shade tolerance. Furthermore, the structure-antioxidant activity relationships between a range of isoflavones and the plant shade-tolerance mechanism are discussed. Targeted metabolomic analyses of isoflavones could reveal the diversity of shade tolerance in soybean seedlings, thus contributing to the breeding of excellent soybean varieties.

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