A metabolomic study of Gomphrena agrestis in Brazilian Cerrado suggests drought-adaptive strategies on metabolism

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  • Geraldo Aclecio Melo
  • Ilka Nacif Abreu
  • Maira Baista de Oliveira
  • Ilara Gabriela Frasson Budzinski
  • Lucinelia Vieira Silva
  • Marcio Antonio Silva Pimenta
  • Moritz, Thomas

Drought is the main factor that limits the distribution and productivity of plant species. In the Brazilian Cerrado, the vegetation is adapted to a seasonal climate with long- and short-term periods of drought. To analyze the metabolic strategies under such conditions, a metabolomic approach was used to characterize Gomphrena agrestis Mart. (Amaranthaceae) a native species that grows under natural conditions, in a rock-field area. Roots and leaves material from native specimens were sampled along different seasons of the year and LC-MS and GC-MS analyzed for multiple chemical constituents. The datasets derived from the different measurements were combined and evaluated using multivariate analysis. Principal component analysis was used to obtain an overview of the samples and identify outliers. Later, the data was analyzed with orthogonal projection to latent structures discriminant analysis to obtain valid models that could explain the metabolite variations in the different seasons. Two hundred and eighty metabolites were annotated, generating a unique database to characterize metabolic strategies used to cope with the effects of drought. The accumulation of fructans in the thickened roots is consistent with the storage of carbons during the rainy season to support the energy demand during a long period of drought. The accumulation of Abscisic acid, sugars and sugar alcohols, phenolics, and pigment in the leaves suggests physiological adaptations. To cope with long-term drought, the data suggests that tissue water status and storage of reserves are important to support plant survival and regrowth. However, during short-term drought, osmoregulation and oxidative protection seems to be essential, probably to support the maintenance of active photosynthesis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12933
JournalScientific Reports
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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