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[This article belongs to Volume - 56, Issue - 03]

Abstract :

Vegetable crops possess a prominent nutri-metabolite pool that not only contributes to the crop performance in the fields, but also offers nutritional security for humans. In the pursuit of identifying, quantifying and functionally characterizing the cellular metabolome pool, biomolecule separation technologies, data acquisition platforms, chemical libraries, bioinformatics tools, databases and visualization techniques have come to play significant role. High-throughput metabolomics unravels structurally diverse nutrition-rich metabolites and their entangled interactions in vegetable plants. It has helped to link identified phytometabolites with unique phenotypic traits, nutri-functional characters, defense mechanisms and crop productivity. In this study, we explore mining diverse metabolites, localizing cellular metabolic pathways, classifying functional biomolecules and establishing linkages between metabolic fluxes and genomic regulations, using comprehensive metabolomics deciphers of the plant’s performance in the environment. We discuss exemplary reports covering the implications of metabolomics, addressing metabolic changes in vegetable plants during crop domestication, stage-dependent growth, fruit development, nutri-metabolic capabilities, climatic impacts, plant-microbe-pest interactions and anthropogenic activities. Efforts leading to identify biomarker metabolites, candidate proteins and the genes responsible for plant health, defense mechanisms and nutri-rich crop produce are documented. With the insights on metabolite-QTL (mQTL) driven genetic architecture, molecular breeding in vegetable crops can be revolutionized for developing better nutritional capabilities, improved tolerance against diseases/pests and enhanced climate resilience in plants.