PTR-ToF-MS and data mining methods: a new tool for fruit metabolomics
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Proton Transfer Reaction-Mass Spectrometry (PTR-MS) in its recently developed implementation based on a time-of-flight mass spectrometer (PTR-ToF-MS) has been evaluated as a possible tool for rapid non-destructive investigation of the volatile compounds present in the metabolome of apple cultivars and clones. Clone characterization is a cutting-edge problem in technical management and royalty application, not only for apple, aiming at unveiling real properties which differentiate the mutated individuals. We show that PTR-ToF-MS coupled with multivariate and data mining methods may successfully be employed to obtain accurate varietal and clonal apple fingerprint. In particular, we studied the VOC emission profile of five different clones belonging to three well known apple cultivars, such as ‘Fuji’, ‘Golden Delicious’ and ‘Gala’. In all three cases it was possible to set classification models which can distinguish all cultivars and some of the clones considered in this study. Furthermore, in the case of ‘Gala’ we also identified estragole and hexyl 2-methyl butanoate contributing to such clone characterization. Beside its applied relevance, no data on the volatile profiling of apple clones are available so far, our study indicates the general viability of a metabolomic approach for volatile compounds in fruit based on rapid PTR-ToF-MS fingerprinting.
KeywordsProton transfer reaction-mass spectrometry Apple (Malus domestica) Cultivars Clones Chemometrics Data mining Marker identification
Work partially supported by PAT (AP 2009-2011). PMG acknowledges partial support from ANPCyT (grant PICT 237/08).
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