Changes in the Sugarcane Metabolome with Stem Development. Are They Related to Sucrose Accumulation? Academic Article uri icon


  • Sucrose content increases with internode development down the stem of sugarcane. In an attempt to determine which other changes in metabolites may be linked to sucrose accumulation gas chromatography-mass spectrometry was used to obtain metabolic profiles from methanol/water extracts of four samples of different age down the stem of cultivar Q117. Extracts were derivatized with either N-methyl-N-(trimethylsilyl) trifluoracetamide (TMS) or N-methyl N-(tert-butyldimethylsilyl) trifluoroacetamide (TBS) separately in order to increase the number of metabolites that could be detected. This resulted in the measurement of 121 and 71 metabolites from the TMS and TBS derivatization, respectively. Fifty-five metabolites were identified using commercial and publicly available libraries. Statistical analysis of the metabolite profiles resulted in clustering of tissue types. Particular metabolites were correlated with the level of sucrose accumulation, which as expected increased down the stem. Metabolites, such as tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediates and amino acids, were more abundant in the M2 sample (meristem to internode 2) that was actively growing and decreased in an apparently coordinated developmentally programmed manner in more mature internodes down the stem. However, other metabolites such as trehalose and raffinose showed positive correlations with sucrose concentration. Here we discuss the technique used to measure metabolites in sugarcane and the changes in metabolite abundance down the sugarcane stem.


publication date

  • April 2007