Crops and tasty, nutritious food - How can metabolomics help?

Food quality, security and safety have become topics of considerable recent interest. With a rapidly growing world population, entailing an everexpanding requirement for food, and with the global consumer making higher and better-informed demands on our crop and food producers, much attention is being given to how we can meet all these growing needs. Crop growers and food processors alike are already looking at state-of-the-art technologies such as metabolomics as a source of new inroads into the generation of detailed knowledge on the biochemical composition of crop products and how they change during transport, storage and industrial processing. All the steps in the food production chain, from the moment the plant breeder makes the first cross to the canning factory delivering to the supermarket distributor, have potentially significant in- fluence on the quality of the final product the consumer places on the kitchen table. Metabolomics of crop plants and plant products is already being widely applied and is generating new information on the complexity of food composition. In this chapter, some of the main subjects of recent research, concerning both fresh and processed materials, are covered. Emphasis has been laid on technological advances and how we approach food improvement strategies as well as the role of metabolomics is also finding a role in food safety analysis.

D.W. Stewart, L.V.T. Shepherd, R.D. Hall, P.D. Fraser
Authors from the NMC: 
Publication data (text): 
R.D. Hall (Ed.): The biology of plant metabolomics
Published in: 
Annual Plant Reviews, Volume 43: Biology of Plant Metabolomics
Date of publication: 
March, 2011
Status of the publication: 
Centre for BioSystems Genomics