Laboratorium voor Biochemie, Bioscience, WUR Plant Breeding, Plant Research International
Fruit maturation and tissue differentiation are important topics in plant physiology. These biological phenomena are accompanied by specific alterations in the biological system, such as differences in the type and concentration of metabolites. The secondary metabolism of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) fruit was monitored by using liquid chromatography (LC) coupled to photo-diode array (PDA) detection, fluorescence detection (FD), and mass spectrometry (MS). Through this integrated approach different classes of compounds were analysed: carotenoids, xanthophylls, chlorophylls, tocopherols, ascorbic acid, flavonoids, phenolic acids, glycoalkaloids, saponins, and other glycosylated derivatives. Related metabolite profiles of peel and flesh were found between several commercial tomato cultivars indicating similar metabolite trends despite the genetic background. For a single tomato cultivar, metabolite profiles of different fruit tissues (vascular attachment region, columella and placenta, epidermis, pericarp, and jelly parenchyma) were examined at the green, breaker, turning, pink, and red stages of fruit development. Unrelated to the chemical nature of the metabolites, behavioural patterns could be assigned to specific ripening stages or tissues. These findings suggest spatio-temporal specificity in the accumulation of endogenous metabolites from tomato fruit.