An Integrated Metabolomics Study of Glucosinolate Metabolism in Different Brassicaceae Genera
Glucosinolates are a group of plant secondary metabolites that can be hydrolyzed into a variety of breakdown products such as isothiocyanates, thiocyanates, and nitriles. These breakdown products can facilitate plant defense and function as attractants to natural enemies of insect pests. As part of the diet, some of these compounds have shown cancer-preventing activities, and the levels of these metabolites in the edible parts of the plants are of interest. In this study, we systematically
... systematically examined variations in glucosinolates, their precursors, and their breakdown products in 12 commonly consumed vegetables of the Brassicaceae family with gas chromatography—quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometer (GC-Q-TOF/MS), liquid chromatography–quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometer (LC-Q-TOF/MS), and liquid chromatography—triple quadrupole mass spectrometer (LC-QQQ/MS), using both untargeted and targeted approaches. The findings were integrated with data from literature to provide a comprehensive map of pathways for biosynthesis of glucosinolates and isothiocyanates. The levels of precursor glucosinolates are found to correlate well with their downstream breakdown products. Further, the types and abundances of glucosinolates among different genera are significantly different, and these data allow the classification of plants based on morphological taxonomy. Further validation on three genera, which are grown underground, in damp soil, and above ground, suggests that each genus has its specific biosynthetic pathways and that there are variations in some common glucosinolate biosynthesis pathways. Our methods and results provide a good starting point for further investigations into specific aspects of glucosinolate metabolism in the Brassica vegetables.