Glucosinolate variability between turnip organs during development

Guusje Bonnema, Jun Gu Lee, Wang Shuhang, David Lagarrigue, Johan Bucher, Ron Wehrens, Ric De Vos, Jules Beekwilder*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Turnip (Brassica rapa spp. rapa) is an important vegetable species, with a unique physiology. Several plant parts, including both the turnip tubers and leaves, are important for human consumption. During the development of turnip plants, the leaves function as metabolic source tissues, while the tuber first functions as a sink, while later the tuber turns into a source for development of flowers and seeds. In the present study, chemical changes were determined for two genotypes with different genetic background, and included seedling, young leaves, mature leaves, tuber surface, tuber core, stalk, flower and seed tissues, at seven different time points during plant development. As a basis for understanding changes in glucosinolates during plant development, the profile of glucosinolates was analysed using liquid chromatography (LC) coupled to mass spectrometry (MS). This analysis was complemented by a gene expression analysis, focussed on GLS biosynthesis, which could explain part of the observed variation, pointing to important roles of specific gene orthologues for defining the chemical differences. Substantial differences in glucosinolate profiles were observed between above-ground tissues and turnip tuber, reflecting the differences in physiological role. In addition, differences between the two genotypes and between tissues that were harvested early or late during the plant lifecycle. The importance of the observed differences in glucosinolate profile for the ecophysiology of the turnip and for breeding turnips with optimal chemical profiles is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0217862
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019


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