, 15:155 | Cite as

An untargeted metabolomic approach reveals significant postharvest alterations in vitamin metabolism in response to LED irradiation in pak-choi (Brassica campestris L. ssp. chinensis (L.) Makino var. communis Tsen et Lee)

  • Fuhui Zhou
  • Jinhua Zuo
  • Lipu Gao
  • Yuan Sui
  • Qing WangEmail author
  • Aili JiangEmail author
  • Junyan Shi
Original Article


The main objective of this study was to investigate the effect of low-level light emitting diode (LED) irradiation on the metabolite profile of pak-choi. A total of 633 different molecular features (MFs) were identified among sample groups (initial, dark-treated, light-treated) using an untargeted metabolomic approach. The identified metabolites were associated with 24 different metabolic pathways. Four of the pathways including carbon pool by folate, folate biosynthesis, thiamine metabolism, and glutathione metabolism, all of which are associated with vitamin biosynthesis, changed significantly. Metabolites in four of the pathways exhibited significant differences from the control in response to LED irradiation. Additionally, porphyrin and chlorophyll metabolism, as well as glucosinolate biosynthesis, riboflavin metabolism, and carotenoid biosynthesis were positively induced by LED irradiation. These results indicate that postharvest LED illumination represents a potential tool for modifying the metabolic profile of pak-choi to maintain quality and nutritional levels.


Untargeted metabolomic analysis White LED light irradiation Postharvest quality Vitamin metabolism 



This work was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2016YFD0400901), the China Agriculture Research System Project (CARS-23), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31772022), the Natural Science Foundation of Beijing (6182016), Special innovation ability construction fund of Beijing Academy of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences (20180404 and 20180705). We greatly appreciate the critical reading of the manuscript by Dr. Michael Wisniewski, USDA-ARS-Appalachian Fruit Research Station.

Author contributions

QW, AJ, LG designed the experimental trials. FZ and JS performed the experiments, collected the samples. JZ, FZ and YS wrote the article. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Research involving human and animal participants

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

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

11306_2019_1617_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (116 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLSX 116 kb)
11306_2019_1617_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (52 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (XLSX 51 kb)
11306_2019_1617_MOESM3_ESM.docx (659 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (DOCX 659 kb)


  1. Alawady, A. E., & Grimm, B. (2010). Tobacco Mg protoporphyrin IX methyltransferase is involved in inverse activation of mg porphyrin and protoheme synthesis. The Plant Journal, 41, 282–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cajka, T., & Fiehn, O. (2015). Toward merging untargeted and targeted methods in mass spectrometry-based metabolomics and lipidomics. Analytical Chemistry, 88, 524–545.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chen, Y. L., Wang, H. H., Xu, Y. J., Wu, J. J., & Xiao, G. S. (2013). Effect of treatment with dimethyl dicarbonate on microorganisms and quality of Chinese cabbage. Postharvest Biology and Technology, 76, 139–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Clouse, S. D. (2001). Integration of light and brassinosteroid signals in etiolated seedling growth. Trends in Plant Science, 6, 443–445.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Collakova, E., & Shachar-Hill, Y. (2008). Arabidopsis 10-formyl tetrahydrofolate deformylases are essential for photorespiration. Plant Cell, 20, 1818–1832.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Długosz-Grochowska, O., Kołton, A., & Wojciechowska, R. (2016). Modifying folate and polyphenol concentrations in lamb’s lettuce by the use of led supplemental lighting during cultivation in greenhouses. Journal of Functional Foods, 26, 228–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dusemund, B., Galtier, P., Gilbert, J., Gott, D. M., Grilli, S., Guertler, R., et al. (2008). Scientific opinion: Benfotiamine, thiamine monophosphate chloride and thiamine pyrophosphate chloride, as sources of vitamin B1 added for nutritional purposes to food supplements. EFSA Journal, 864, 1–31.Google Scholar
  8. Erkan, M., Wang, S. Y., & Wang, C. Y. (2008). Effect of UV treatment on antioxidant capacity, antioxidant enzyme activity and decay in strawberry fruit. Postharvest Biology and Technology, 48, 163–171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Ferrante, A., & Maggiore, T. (2007). Chlorophyll a, fluorescence measurements to evaluate storage time and temperature of valeriana, leafy vegetables. Postharvest Biology and Technology, 45, 73–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gajewski, M., & Skapski, H. (1994). Storage of Chinese cabbage (Brassica pekinensis) and leaf chicory (Cichorium intybus var. foliosum) as a method of prolongation their consumption period. Acta Horticulture, 90, 145–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hagen, S. F., Borge, G. I. A., Solhaug, K. A., & Bengtsson, G. B. (2009). Effect of cold storage and harvest date on bioactive compounds in curly kale (Brassica oleracea L. var. acephala). Postharvest Biology and Technology, 51, 36–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hall, R. D. (2006). Plant metabolomics: From holistic hope, to hype, to hot topic. New Phytologist, 169, 453–468.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hanson, A. D., & Roje, S. (2001). One-carbon metabolism in higher plants. Annual Review of Plant Physiology and Plant Molecular Biology, 52, 119–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hanson, P., Yang, R. Y., Chang, L. C., Ledesma, L., & Ledesma, D. (2009). Contents of carotenoids, ascorbic acid, minerals and total glucosinolates in leafy brassica pakchoi (Brassica rapa L. chinensis) as affected by season and variety. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 89, 906–914.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hasperué, J. H., Guardianelli, L., Rodoni, L. M., Chaves, A. R., & Martíneze, G. A. (2016). Continuous while-blue LED light exposition delays postharvest senescence of broccoli. LWT-Food Science and Technology, 65, 495–502.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hsu, F. C., Wirtz, M., Heppel, S. C., Bogs, J., Krämer, U., Khan, M. S., et al. (2011). Generation of Se-fortified broccoli as functional food: Impact of Se fertilization on S metabolism. Plant Cell & Environ, 34, 192–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Jabrin, S., Ravanel, S., Gambonnet, B., Douce, R., & Rébeillé, F. (2003). One-carbon metabolism in plants. Regulation of tetrahydrofolate synthesis during germination and seedling development. Plant Physiology, 131, 1431–1439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Jin, P., Yao, D., Xu, F., Wang, H. Q., & Zheng, Y. H. (2015). Effect of light on quality and bioactive compounds in postharvest broccoli florets. Food Chemistry, 172, 705–709.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kretzschmar, K., & Jaenicke, W. (1971). Polarographische untersuchung des systems folsäure–dihydrofolsäure–tetrahydrofolsäure/polarographic examination of the system folic acid–dihydrofolic acid–tetrahydrofolic acid. Zeitschrift für Naturforschung B, 26, 225–228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Leblanc, J. G., Milani, C., Giori, G. S., Sesma, F., Van, S. D., & Ventura, M. (2013). Bacteria as vitamin suppliers to their host: A gut microbiota perspective. Current Opinion in Biotechnology, 24, 160–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lefsrud, M. G., Kopsell, D. A., & Sams, C. E. (2008). Irradiance from distinct wavelength light-emitting diodes affect secondary metabolites in kale. HortScience, 43, 2243–2244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lewis, J., & Fenwick, G. R. (1987). Glucosinolate content of brassica, vegetables: Analysis of twenty-four cultivars of calabrese (green sprouting broccoli, Brassica oleracea, L. var. botrytis subvar. cymosa Lam.). Food Chemistry, 25, 259–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Li, K., Vorkas, C. K., Chaudhry, A., Bell, D. L., Willis, R. A., Rudensky, A., et al. (2018). Synthesis, stabilization, and characterization of the MR1 ligand precursor 5-amino-6-D-ribitylaminouracil (5-A-RU). PLoS ONE, 13, e0191837.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Maldini, M., Natella, F., Baima, S., Morelli, G., Scaccini, C., Langridge, J., et al. (2015). Untargeted metabolomics reveals predominant alterations in lipid metabolism following light exposure in broccoli sprouts. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 16, 13678–13691.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Mayne, S. T., & Parker, R. S. (1988). Cis-canthaxanthin and other carotenoid-like compounds in canthaxanthin preparations. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, 36, 478–482.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Ménard, R., Larue, J. P., Silué, D., & Thouvenot, D. (1999). Glucosinolates in cauliflower as biochemical markers for resistance against downy mildew. Phytochemistry, 52, 29–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Mori, T., Terai, H., Yamauchi, N., & Suzuki, Y. (2009). Effects of postharvest ethanol vapor treatment on the ascorbate–glutathione cycle in broccoli florets. Postharvest Biology and Technology, 52, 134–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Nagata, N., Tanaka, R., & Tanaka, A. (2007). The major route for chlorophyll synthesis includes [3,8-divinyl]-chlorophyllide a reduction in arabidopsis thaliana. Plant and Cell Physiology, 48, 1803–1808.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Nandi, D. L. (1958). Effects of diffused light and darkness on the B-vitamin contents of germinating pulses. Journal of Food Science, 25, 88–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Pincus, J. H., & Grove, I. (1970). Distribution of thiamine phosphate esters in normal and thiamine-deficient brain. Experimental Neurology, 28, 477–483.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Piper, M. D., Hong, S. P., Ball, G. E., & Dawes, I. W. (2000). Regulation of the balance of one-carbon metabolism in saccharomyces cerevisiae. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 275, 30987–30995.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Samuolienė, G., Sirtautas, R., Brazaitytė, A., & Duchovskis, P. (2012). Led lighting and seasonality effects antioxidant properties of baby leaf lettuce. Food Chemistry, 134, 1494–1499.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Santin, M., Lucini, L., Castagna, A., Chiodelli, G., Hauser, M. T., & Ranieri, A. (2018). Post-harvest UV-B radiation modulates metabolite profile in peach fruit. Postharvest Biology and Technology, 139, 127–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Sies, H. (1999). Glutathione and its role in cellular functions. Free Radical Biology and Medicine, 27, 916–921.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Tomes, M. L. (1963). Temperature inhibition of carotene synthesis in tomato. Botanical Gazette, 124, 180–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Vos, R. C. D., Moco, S., Lommen, A., Keurentjes, J. J., Bino, R. J., & Hall, R. D. (2007). Untargeted large-scale plant metabolomics using liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry. Nature Protocols, 2, 778–791.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Wang, Y., Zhu, P. H., Tian, T., Tang, J., & Hu, X. Y. (2011). Synchronous fluorescence as a rapid method for the simultaneous determination of folic acid and riboflavin in nutritional beverages. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, 59, 12629–12634.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Wen, H. W., Chung, H. P., Wang, Y. T., Hsieh, P. C., Lin, I. H., & Chou, F. I. (2008). Efficacy of gamma irradiation for protection against postharvest insect damage and microbial contamination of adlay. Postharvest Biology and Technology, 50, 208–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Yang, J., Zhu, Z. J., Wang, Z. Z., & Zhu, B. (2010). Effects of storage temperature on the contents of carotenoids and glucosinolates in pakchoi (Brassica rapa L. ssp. chinensis var. communis). Journal of Food Biochemistry, 34, 1186–1204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Yeh, N., & Chung, J. P. (2009). High-brightness LEDs-energy efficient lighting sources and their potential in indoor plant cultivation. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 13, 2175–2180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Vegetable Postharvest Processing, Ministry of Agriculture, Beijing Key Laboratory of Fruits and Vegetable Storage and Processing, Key Laboratory of Biology and Genetic Improvement of Horticultural Crops (North China) of Ministry of Agriculture, Key Laboratory of Urban Agriculture (North) of Ministry of Agriculture, Beijing Vegetable Research CenterBeijing Academy of Agriculture and Forestry SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Biotechnology and Bioresources UtilizationMinistry of EducationDalianChina
  3. 3.College of Life ScienceDalian Minzu UniversityDalianChina
  4. 4.Chongqing Key Laboratory of Economic Plant Biotechnology, College of Landscape Architecture and Life Science/Institute of Special PlantsChongqing University of Arts and SciencesChongqingChina

Personalised recommendations