Metabolomics-assisted applications in nutritional genomics and crop improvement


C. Wijekoon, S. D. Singer, R.J. Weselake, S. Acharya (2019 July 7-10) Metabolomics-Assisted Applications in Nutritional Genomics and Crop Improvement. Plant Canada conference. Guelph. Student poster presentation judge. Oral presentation by C. Wijekoon.


Plants have potential for use in the treatment in obesity, hypertension, diabetes and cancer. Plants exhibiting a wide variety of medicinal properties can be improved for hypercholesterolemic, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-allergic, anti-nociceptive and antiulcer effects. Some plants are capable of regulating high blood pressure and the incidence of heart attacks and stroke. Beneficial effects of bio-active compounds of crops have driven a wide range of research activities including antimutagenic, anticarcinogenic, antioxidant activities, and their potential to decrease the risk of coronary diseases. This presentation explains about identifying plant metabolites important for human health and studying their underlying molecular mechanisms in plant biosynthetic pathways. New “omics” approaches, are being used to understand responses and constituents of crops and their wild plant relatives to develop them to the desired traits. Metabolomics and functional genomics are two of the “OMICS” strategies explained here using different crops. Gene silencing in various plants such as Nicotiana benthamiana, Medicago truncatula, M. sativa, Onobrychis viciifolia and Trigonella foenum-graecum showed a great potential in identifying the molecular basis of plant bioactive compounds and their biosynthesis. Improved health benefits can be achieved through enhanced bioactives such as polyphenols and antioxidants with desirable traits and associated crop production systems. This research would help to identify more nutritive and healthier crops to the consumer with value-added benefits to the producer.