We analyzed the contents of 38 primary metabolites and 9 minerals in the leaves and roots of bell pepper (Capsicum annuum L. var. angulosum) to study metabolic responses to deficiency in nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, or magnesium. Induced deficiencies of individual cations reduced the abundance of the other cations in both leaves and roots. Each nutrient-deficient condition was clearly grouped by principal component analysis, which also showed that leaves under cation-deficiency treatments were separated from those under non-cation-deficiency treatments. This was consistent with that a single cation deficiency decreased the levels of the other cations in leaves. Specifically, N deficiency reduced amino acids and organic acids in both tissues. The common response to P-, K-, Ca- or Mg-deficient conditions showed significant increases in the levels of amino acids in both tissues and organic acids in the roots. In the leaves, P- or Mg-deficient conditions reduced organic acids. Soluble carbohydrates were significantly increased under N-, K-, Ca- or Mg-deficient conditions in the leaves, whereas in roots under K deficiency. Notably, the level of γ-aminobutyric acid, an amino acid that helps protect against biotic and abiotic stresses, was increased threefold in leaves under K-deficient conditions and sixfold in roots under P-, K-, Ca-, or Mg-deficient conditions. These findings provide additional information about variations in metabolite and mineral abundance in bell pepper leaves and roots in response to mineral shortage.
Bell pepper Mineral content Mineral deficiency Primary metabolite
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This work was carried out with the support of “Cooperative Research Program for Agriculture Science & Technology Development (Project No. PJ010899)” and the 2018 RDA Fellowship Program of National Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Rural Development Administration (RDA), Republic of Korea.
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