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Biol Open. 2016 Jun 15;5(6):829-36. doi: 10.1242/bio.017863.

Metabolomics reveals significant variations in metabolites and correlations regarding the maturation of walnuts (Juglans regia L.).

Author information

1
State Key Laboratory of Tree Genetics and Breeding, Research Institute of Forestry, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing 100091, Republic of China Collaborative Innovation Center of Sustainable Forestry in Southern China, Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing 210037, Republic of China Key Laboratory of Tree Breeding and Cultivation, State Forestry Administration, Research Institute of Forestry, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing 100091, Republic of China.
2
Collaborative Innovation Center of Sustainable Forestry in Southern China, Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing 210037, Republic of China.
3
State Key Laboratory of Tree Genetics and Breeding, Research Institute of Forestry, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing 100091, Republic of China Collaborative Innovation Center of Sustainable Forestry in Southern China, Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing 210037, Republic of China Key Laboratory of Tree Breeding and Cultivation, State Forestry Administration, Research Institute of Forestry, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing 100091, Republic of China zhangjg@caf.ac.cn.

Abstract

The content of walnut metabolites is related to its nutritive value and physiological characteristics, however, comprehensive information concerning the metabolome of walnut kernels is limited. In this study we analyzed the metabolites of walnut kernels at five developmental stages from filling to ripening using GC-MS-based untargeted metabolomics; of a total 252 peaks identified, 85 metabolites were positively identified. Further statistical analysis revealed that these 85 metabolites covered different types of metabolism pathways. PCA scores revealed that the metabolic compositions of the embryo are different at each stage, while the metabolic composition of the endotesta could not be significantly separated into distinct groups. Additionally, 7225 metabolite-metabolite correlations were detected in walnut kernel by a Pearson correlation coefficient approach; during screening of the calculated correlations, 463 and 1047 were determined to be significant with r(2)≥0.49 and had a false discovery rate (FDR) ≤0.05 in endotesta and embryo, respectively. This work provides the first comprehensive metabolomic study of walnut kernels and reveals that most of the carbohydrate and protein-derived carbon was transferred into other compounds, such as fatty acids, during the maturation of walnuts, which may potentially provide the basis for further studies on walnut kernel metabolism.

KEYWORDS:

ANOVA; Developmental stages; Metabolite-metabolite correlation; Metabolome; Walnut kernel

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