Agronomic and Metabolomic Side-Effects of a Divergent Selection for Indol-3-Ylmethylglucosinolate Content in Kale (Brassica oleracea var. acephala)
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionMetabolites. 2021, 11 (6), 1-15. 10.3390/metabo11060384
Brassica oleracea var. acephala (kale) is a cruciferous vegetable widely cultivated for its leaves and flower buds in Europe and a food of global interest as a “superfood”. Brassica crops accumulate phytochemicals called glucosinolates (GSLs) which play an important role in plant defense against biotic stresses. Studies carried out to date suggest that GSLs may have a role in the adaptation of plants to different environments, but direct evidence is lacking. We grew two kale populations divergently selected for high and low indol-3-ylmethylGSL (IM) content (H-IM and L-IM, respectively) in different environments and analyzed agronomic parameters, GSL profiles and metabolomic profile. We found a significant increase in fresh and dry foliar weight in H-IM kale populations compared to L-IM in addition to a greater accumulation of total GSLs, indole GSLs and, specifically, IM and 1-methoxyindol-3-ylmethylGSL (1MeOIM). Metabolomic analysis revealed a significant different concentration of 44 metabolites in H-IM kale populations compared to L-IM. According to tentative peak identification from MS interpretation, 80% were phenolics, including flavonoids (kaempferol, quercetin and anthocyanin derivates, including acyl flavonoids), chlorogenic acids (esters of hydroxycinnamic acids and quinic acid), hydroxycinnamic acids (ferulic acid and p-coumaric acid) and coumarins. H-IM kale populations could be more tolerant to diverse environmental conditions, possibly due to GSLs and the associated metabolites with predicted antioxidant potential.