, 14:145 | Cite as

Answering biological questions by analysis of the strawberry metabolome

  • Annika Haugeneder
  • Johanna Trinkl
  • Katja Härtl
  • Thomas Hoffmann
  • James William Allwood
  • Wilfried Schwab
Review Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Food and Nutrition



The qualitative and quantitative analysis of all low molecular weight metabolites within a biological sample, known as the metabolome, provides powerful insights into their roles in biological systems and processes. The study of all the chemical structures, concentrations, and interactions of the thousands of metabolites is called metabolomics. However present state of the art methods and equipment can only analyse a small portion of the numerous, structurally diverse groups of chemical substances found in biological samples, especially with respect to samples of plant origin with their huge diversity of secondary metabolites. Nevertheless, metabolite profiling and fingerprinting techniques have been applied to the analysis of the strawberry metabolome since their early beginnings.


The application of metabolomics and metabolite profiling approaches within strawberry research was last reviewed in 2011. Here, we aim to summarize the latest results from research of the strawberry metabolome since its last review with a special emphasis on studies that address specific biological questions.

Key scientific concepts

Analysis of strawberry, and other fruits, requires a plethora of analytical methods and approaches encompassing the analysis of primary and secondary metabolites, as well as capturing and quantifying volatile compounds that are related to aroma as well as fruit development, function and plant-to-plant communication. The success and longevity of metabolite and volatile profiling approaches in fruit breeding relies upon the ability of the approach to uncover biologically meaningful insights. The key concepts that must be addressed and are reviewed include: gene function analysis and genotype comparison, analysis of environmental effects and plant protection, screening for bioactive compounds for food and non-food uses, fruit development and physiology as well as fruit sensorial quality. In future, the results will facilitate fruit breeding due to the identification of metabolic QTLs and candidate genes for fruit quality and consumer preference.


Strawberry Fragaria Metabolite Volatile VOC Aroma Metabolomics Volatilomics 



We apologize to those colleagues whose work could not be cited because of space constraint.

Author contributions

AH and JT were the lead authors of the review performing the majority of writing, with KH, TH, JWA, and WS making minor contributions to writing as well as providing critical review and guidance to the lead authors. All authors read and approved the manuscript.


The authors would like to thank and acknowledge the support of this work by the EU funded GoodBerry project (funded from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No 679303).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.

Research involving human and animal participants

This article does not contain any studies with human and/or animal participants performed by any of the authors.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biotechnology of Natural ProductsTechnische Universität MünchenFreisingGermany
  2. 2.Environmental and Biochemical Sciences GroupThe James Hutton InstituteDundeeUK

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