identification Of Secondary Metabolites In Organic, Cultivated, Hydroponic And Aquaponics Tomatoes Using A Metabolomics Approach With The Goal Of Using Each Extracted Compound And Testing In Human Cell Lines

Open Access
Ansary, Fay Fieruzeh
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Shobha Devi Potlakayala, Thesis Supervisor
  • Dr. Ronald Walker, Honors Advisor
  • Sairam V Rudrabhatla, Faculty Reader
  • Tomato
  • Hydroponics
  • Inorganic
  • Organic
  • Proteomics
  • Metabolomics
  • Plant Biology
  • Nutrition
  • Agriculture
Tomato (Lycopersicum esculentum) belongs to the family Solanaceae and accounts for more than half of the vegetable consumption in the United States. Traditionally, tomatoes have always been cultivated on soil. Recently, attempts have been made to incorporate value added traits for early flowering, disease resistance, and high yield of tomatoes by growing them in soil-less media with mineral nutrient solutions such as hydroponics. This method is known to offer several advantages including conservation of water, reduction of pesticide use, increased root mass and efficient uptake of nitrogen and other minerals leading to high crop yields. Until now over 50 metabolic compounds are identified that differ in organic and conventionally grown tomatoes, but there is no study that highlights the differences in the morphological characteristics, their physiological responses and protein and metabolite profiles between organic and conventionally grown tomatoes in soil and hydroponic systems. To understand how these two treatments would affect tomato’s gene expression and metabolic pathways, we performed a pilot experiment to estimate the differences in their protein and metabolite profiles and physiological responses when they were grown in soil or hydroponics. Analysis of the morphological and physiological responses such as plant height, days to flowering, number of flowers, seed weight, and fruit yield was best displayed in the organic treatment groups. However, an increased root biomass was observed in the hydroponic grow systems. A preliminary analysis of total proteins using one dimensional sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis on tomato fruits indicated a differential expression of proteins among all treatments. In addition, a basic metabolic profile was obtained using high performance liquid chromatography. i These results also indicated that the hydroponic grow system yielded the best results as indicated by the metabolite concentrations. This work, gave a better insight into the differences of the two different tomato types (organic and inorganic) grown in two different grow systems (soil and hydroponics) and helped in the identification of new proteins and metabolites. Further investigation would enable a better understanding of the plant pathways and possibly allow the identification of mechanisms targeted to increase the yield and produce nutritionally enhanced tomatoes, particularly rich in antioxidants, aroma and flavor.