, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 273-288
Date: 09 May 2007

Quantitative metabolic profiles of tomato flesh and seeds during fruit development: complementary analysis with ANN and PCA


Tomato, an essential crop in terms of economic importance and nutritional quality, is also used as a model species for all fleshy fruits and for genomics of Solanaceae. Tomato fruit quality at harvest is a direct function of its metabolite content, which in turn is a result of many physiological changes during fruit development. The aim of the work reported here was to develop a global approach to characterize changes in metabolic profiles in two interdependent tissues from the same tomato fruits. Absolute quantification data of compounds in flesh and seeds from 8 days to 45 days post anthesis (DPA) were obtained through untargeted (proton nuclear magnetic resonance, 1H-NMR) and targeted metabolic profiling (liquid chromatography with diode array detection (LC-DAD) or gas chromatography with flame ionization detection (GC-FID)). These data were analyzed with chemometric approaches. Kohonen self organizing maps (SOM) analysis of these data allowed us to combine multivariate (distribution of samples on Kohonen SOMs) and univariate information (component plane representation of metabolites) in a single analysis. This strategy confirmed published data and brought new insights on tomato flesh and seed composition, thus demonstrating its potential in metabolomics. The compositional changes were related to physiological processes occurring in each tissue. They pointed to (i) some parallel changes at early stages in relation to cell division and transitory storage of carbon, (ii) metabolites participating in the fleshy trait and (iii) metabolites involved in the specific developmental patterns of the seeds.