Metabolomics reveals drastic compositional changes during overwintering of Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus L.) tubers

J Agric Food Chem. 2012 Sep 19;60(37):9495-501. doi: 10.1021/jf302067m. Epub 2012 Sep 6.


Metabolic changes were investigated in overwintering Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus L.) tubers using proton nuclear magnetic resonance ((1)H NMR) metabolomics. Three varieties were studied; as a result of overwintering, the amount of inulin was found to decrease in Jerusalem artichoke tubers. This was mainly due to its conversion to sucrose and, at the same time, formation of inulin with a lower degree of polymerization. Major effects on the concentration of citric acid, malic acid, γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and adenosine were also found. Intriguingly, malic acid concentration increased and citric acid concentration decreased. These changes, together with an increase in sucrose and GABA concentrations, were ascribed to mobilization of nutrients prior to sprouting, suggesting that malic acid and GABA serve as carbon and nitrogen sources during sprouting of Jerusalem artichokes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine / analysis
  • Citric Acid / analysis
  • Cold Temperature*
  • Helianthus / metabolism*
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Malates / analysis
  • Metabolomics
  • Plant Tubers / chemistry*
  • Plant Tubers / metabolism*
  • Seasons
  • Sucrose / analysis
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / analysis


  • Malates
  • Citric Acid
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Sucrose
  • malic acid
  • Adenosine