Extensive metabolic cross-talk in melon fruit revealed by spatial and developmental combinatorial metabolomics

Annick Moing, Asaph Aharoni, Benoit Biais, Ilana Rogachev, Sagit Meir, Leonid Brodsky, J. William Allwood, Alexander Erban, Warwick B. Dunn, Lorraine Kay, Sjaak de Koning, Ric C.H. de Vos, Harry Jonker, Roland Mumm, Catherine Deborde, Michael Maucourt, Stéphane Bernillon, Yves Gibon, Thomas H. Hansen, Søren HustedRoyston Goodacre, Joachim Kopka, Jan K. Schjoerring, Dominique Rolin, Robert D. Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Variations in tissue development and spatial composition have a major impact on the nutritional and organoleptic qualities of ripe fleshy fruit, including melon (Cucumis melo). To gain a deeper insight into the mechanisms involved in these changes, we identified key metabolites for rational food quality design. The metabolome, volatiles and mineral elements were profiled employing an unprecedented range of complementary analytical technologies. Fruits were followed at a number of time points during the final ripening process and tissues were collected across the fruit flesh from rind to seed cavity. Approximately 2000 metabolite signatures and 15 mineral elements were determined in an assessment of temporal and spatial melon fruit development. This study design enabled the identification of: coregulated hubs (including aspartic acid, 2-isopropylmalic acid, β-carotene, phytoene and dihydropseudoionone) in metabolic association networks; global patterns of coordinated compositional changes; and links of primary and secondary metabolism to key mineral and volatile fruit complements. The results reveal the extent of metabolic interactions relevant to ripe fruit quality and thus have enabled the identification of essential candidate metabolites for the high-throughput screening of melon breeding populations for targeted breeding programmes aimed at nutrition and flavour improvement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)683-696
Number of pages14
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Cucumis melo (melon)
  • Fruit metabolism
  • Fruit metabolome
  • Fruit quality
  • Mass spectrometry (MS)
  • Metabolic profiling
  • Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


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