Metabolomic profiling of plant tissues

Methods Mol Biol. 2015;1284:221-35. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-2444-8_11.


Metabolomics is a powerful discipline aimed at a comprehensive and global analysis of the metabolites present in a cell, tissue, or organism, and to which increasing attention has been paid in the last few years. Given the high diversity in physical and chemical properties of plant metabolites, not a single method is able to analyze them all.Here we describe two techniques for the profiling of two quite different groups of metabolites: polar and semi-polar secondary metabolites, including many of those involved in plant response to biotic and abiotic stress, and volatile compounds, which include those responsible of most of our perception of food flavor. According to these techniques, polar and semi-polar metabolites are extracted in methanol, separated by liquid chromatography (UPLC), and detected by a UV-VIS detector (PDA) and a time-of-flight (ToF) mass spectrometer. Volatile compounds, on the other hand, are extracted by headspace solid phase microextraction (HS-SPME), and separated and detected by gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (GC-MS).

MeSH terms

  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Metabolome*
  • Metabolomics* / methods
  • Plants / metabolism*
  • Solid Phase Microextraction / methods
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization / methods
  • Volatile Organic Compounds


  • Volatile Organic Compounds