Metabolomic Discrimination of Near Isogenic Low and High Phytate Soybean [GLYCINE MAX (L.) MERR.] Lines

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Virginia Tech

Phytate is the major storage form of phosphorus in seeds of soybeans. Because phytate chelates mineral cations including calcium, iron, and zinc, these mixed salts are often excreted by non-ruminant animals such as humans, swine, poultry, and fish. While this causes iron and zinc deficiencies, phytate is also considered a water pollutant due to the excess phosphorus excreted in animal waste. These negative environmental and nutritional effects, create a need for low phytate soybeans. While several low phytate soybean lines have been developed, a major drawback is the reduced seedling emergence of these lines resulting in low yields. Therefore, understanding the genetic and molecular bases of the low emergence trait in relation to seed phytate content in major crops such as soybean is of great economic importance.

This PhD project worked towards the long term goal of developing low phytate soybean cultivars with good seedling emergence and high-yield. This dissertation focused on metabolomic differences between low and normal phytate lines and how these could relate to the low emergence phenotype. The genetic materials used here include four near isogenic lines that differ in mutations in two multi drug resistance-associated proteins (MRPs). Only the line with both mutations was low phytate.

The phytate levels, field- and lab-based emergence rates were determined for these lines, their parents and a control line through replicated field experiments for three consecutive years. The emergence rates of the low phytate lines were not always reduced. This showed that the environment the seeds were produced in is highly important, especially when breeding and commercially growing low phytate lines.

A protocol was developed for successful metabolomic discrimination of these closely related soybean lines. The polar and non-polar metabolite profiles were determined using ultra performance liquid chromatography mass spectrometry and metabolomic differences between the low and normal phytate lines were identified. The low phytate double mutant did not contain C22 glucose terminated Group A soyasaponins and almost exclusively contained C22 xylose terminated Group A soyasaponins (A4, A5 and A6). Compared to the normal phytate lines, the low phytate soybean line showed a higher concentration of storage lipids (triacylglycerols and diacylglycerols) and certain phospholipids.

Soybean, UPLC-MS, Metabolites, Phytate, Emergence