Integrated Transcriptomic and Metabolomic Analysis Reveal the Dynamic Process of Bama Hemp Seed Development and the Accumulation Mechanism of α-Linolenic Acid and Linoleic Acid

J Agric Food Chem. 2024 May 15;72(19):10862-10878. doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.3c09309. Epub 2024 May 7.


Bama County is a world-famous longevity county in the Guangxi Province, China. Bama hemp is a traditional seed used in hemp cultivation in the Bama County. The seeds contain abundant unsaturated fatty acids, particularly linoleic acid (LA) and linolenic acid in the golden ratio. These two substances have been proven to be related to human health and the prevention of various diseases. However, the seed development and seed oil accumulation mechanisms remain unclear. This study employed a combined analysis of physiological, transcriptomic, and metabolomic parameters to elucidate the fatty acid formation patterns in Bama hemp seeds throughout development. We found that seed oil accumulated at a late stage in embryo development, with seed oil accumulation following an "S″-shaped growth curve, and positively correlated with seed size, sugar content, protein content, and starch content. Transcriptome analysis identified genes related to the metabolism of LA, α-linolenic acid (ALA), and jasmonic acid (JA). We found that the FAD2 gene was upregulated 165.26 folds and the FAD3 gene was downregulated 6.15 folds at day 21. Metabolomic changes in LA, ALA, and JA compounds suggested a competitive relationship among these substances. Our findings indicate that the peak period of substance accumulation and nutrient accumulation in Bama hemp seeds occurs during the midstage of seed development (day 21) rather than in the late stage (day 40). The results of this research will provide a theoretical basis for local cultivation and deep processing of Bama hemp.

Keywords: Bama hemp; fatty acids and oil accumulation; linoleic acid; seed development; α-linolenic acid.

MeSH terms

  • Cannabis* / chemistry
  • Cannabis* / genetics
  • Cannabis* / growth & development
  • Cannabis* / metabolism
  • China
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant*
  • Linoleic Acid* / metabolism
  • Metabolomics*
  • Plant Proteins* / genetics
  • Plant Proteins* / metabolism
  • Seeds* / chemistry
  • Seeds* / genetics
  • Seeds* / growth & development
  • Seeds* / metabolism
  • Transcriptome*
  • alpha-Linolenic Acid* / metabolism