Agriculture

Agricultural Success is Essential to Sustaining the World’s Population

The human population is dependent upon the agriculture sector having good and sustainable practices and solutions that ultimately yield an adequate food supply to feed and nourish the world’s ever-rising population. Crop plants are not only grown and harvested for subsistence but also have a multitude of other uses including animal feed, ornamental, and industrial (fiber, oil, etc.). A variety of plants are grown for therapeutic products like herbs, supplements, and pharmaceuticals. Increased pressure on agricultural production caused by diminishing natural resources, environmental stressors (ie, both abiotic and biotic), and resistance to commonly used pesticides negatively impact crop productivity, yields, and distributions.

Meeting the needs of the world’s population for food crops, animal feed, and plant-derived therapeutic and industrial products is highly complex. Successful crop productivity and yields, in part, rely on the farmer’s knowledge of land preparation, accurate weather forecasting, disease prevention, soil health, crop rotation schedules, weed and pest control, optimal irrigation strategies, and the use of high-quality seeds. Agriculture success also hinges upon scientific innovations and technology derived from learnings, insights, and research conducted by partners in academia and industry. Delivering solutions with essential mechanistic insights is crucial to overcoming the challenges of supplying the rising population with a sustainable and economically viable food supply, animal feed, and vital therapeutic and industrial products.

Conventional Strategies Provide an Incomplete Picture of Functional Mechanisms Involved in Seed Vigor & Plant Biology

Strategies focused on breeding for favorable agronomic traits (ie, pest and disease resistance, drought tolerance, and increased output) to improve crop yields and sustainable productivity is the primary goal of modern agriculture but the efficacy of some of these measures is waning, in part, because of climate variability and the emergence of new and resistant pathogens. While genome sequencing and expression analysis have contributed significantly to agriculture innovations, these technologies aren’t able to provide a complete picture of the functional metabolic changes occurring in plants. Alternative strategies for crop improvement, enabled by fully characterizing and understanding the mechanisms that regulate seed dormancy, germination, and vigor as well as plant biology, growth, and development and factors that influence seed and plant physiology are needed. The impact of abiotic and biotic stress on sessile organisms that humans rely on so heavily deepens the need for meaningful insights, technologies, and strategies to meet these challenges.

Metabolites Reflect Phenotypic Traits of Seeds and Crop Plants

Biological systems are exceedingly complex, and the plant metabolome is no exception as it is composed of hundreds of thousands of metabolites that play an important role in seed vigor and crop yield.1,2 Metabolomics fills a critical void in developing a comprehensive systems approach to seed and plant biology, providing a new frontier to study the phenotypic traits of plants by elucidating their functional metabolic composition and chemical fingerprint.1,3 This powerful technology can reveal metabolic effects related to genetics (natural variations and mutations), plant growth and development, nutritional status, environmental perturbations, stress, pest, microbes, disease, agricultural chemicals and pesticides (eg, mode of action), pesticide resistance, and genetic modifications, etc.

Metabolon Provides Comprehensive Biochemical Profiling

Metabolomics provides a snapshot of all biochemicals present in a sample by identifying, quantifying, and mapping each metabolite in the system. This provides our clients with unique biological insight into the fundamental nature of any seed or plant trait in relation to both genetics (trait development, biodiversity, gene expression, mutations, genetic engineering, etc.) and the environment (abiotic stress, disease, nutrition, etc.). Researchers are using this deep fundamental insight as a critical tool for engineering solutions to meet the agricultural demands of our growing planet.

Metabolon is a leader in global metabolomics, having performed hundreds of plant- and agriculture-related studies. Metabolomic agricultural applications include:

  • Biomarkers for traits: yield, heterosis, quality
  • Mutant analysis and gene function characterization
  • Transgene analysis: Equivalence, Engineered pathway performance
  • Abiotic stress response: heat, drought, nitrogen utilization, etc
  • Plant disease
  • Biofuels and plant derived chemicals optimization
  • Seed and plant development characterization
  • Germplasm diversity and fitness
  • Plant nutrition

See how Metabolon can advance your path to preclinical and clinical insights

Global Discovery Panel

Metabolon’s LC-MS global metabolomics platform provides a high-fidelity, reproducible analysis of the current-state of a biological system to help identify pharmacodynamic, efficacy and response biomarkers and reveal changes in key biological pathways. Metabolon’s unmatched chemical library and expertise identifies, tracks, and maps the different classes of metabolites and pathways that inform your study and reveal meaningful actionable insights.
Global Discovery Panel
Beta-Hydroxybutyrate Single Analyte Assay

Amino Acids Targeted Panel

Amino acids (AA) are the foundational building blocks for peptides and proteins. These small molecules regulate metabolic pathways that are involved in cell maintenance, growth, reproduction, and immunity. Branched chain amino acids play a large role in building muscle tissue and participate in increasing protein synthesis. Amino acids also play a role in cell signaling, gene expression and protein phosphorylation. Maintaining an optimal balance of amino acids is vital to maintaining a stable equilibrium of physiological processes.

Central Carbons Targeted Panel

Central carbon metabolism involves the enzymatic conversion of sugars into metabolic precursors that are used to generate the entire biomass of the cell. The metabolites in this panel include key citric acid cycle compounds that connect carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism. In addition to supplying key metabolic precursors, central carbon metabolism is used to oxidize simple sugar molecules obtained from food to supply energy to living systems. Measurement of central carbon metabolites has great industrial relevance since it may allow the engineering of selected metabolic steps to optimize carbon flow toward precursors for industrially important metabolites.
Central Carbons Targeted Panel
Complex Lipids Targeted Panel

Complex Lipids Targeted Panel

Metabolon has overcome the challenges of lipid profiling to create the only platform able to provide both complete and quantitative lipidomic analysis.

Metabolon in Action

Seed germination case study

Metabolon’s metabolomics analysis, along with single gene expression analysis, electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR), and comet assay, were used to better understand the molecular basis of seed vigor by investigating novel signatures of seed germination in Medicago truncatula, using the histone deacetylase inhibitor sodium butyrate (NaB) as stress agent.4 Nontargeted global metabolomics profiling was completed on NaB‐treated and untreated seeds collected at imbibition and at the radicle protrusion stage. The study demonstrated changes in seed metabolism induced by the stress agent, NaB. Differentially accumulated metabolites associated with polyamine biosynthesis and uracil degradation could be utilized as potential metabolic signatures of seed germination under adverse conditions because of their documented roles in the cell response to stress.

Read the publication

Interested in Further Studies?

Why Metabolon?

Once you see the full value of metabolomics, the only remaining question is who does it best? While many laboratories have metabolite profiling or analytical chemistry capabilities, comprehensive metabolomics technologies are extremely rare. Accurate, unbiased metabolite identification across the entire metabolome introduces signal-to-noise challenges that very few labs are equipped to handle. Also, translating massive quantities of data into actionable information is slow, if not impossible, for most because proper interpretation takes two things that are in short supply: experience and a comprehensive database.

Only Metabolon has all four core metabolomics capabilities

R

Coverage

Ability to interrogate thousands of metabolites across diverse biochemical space, revealing new insights and opportunities

R

Comparability

Ability to integrate the data from different studies into the same dataset, in different geographies, among different patients over time
R

Competency

Ability to inform on proper study design, generate high‐quality data, derive biological insights, and make actionable recommendations
R

Capacity

Ability to process hundreds of thousands of samples quickly and cost‐efficiently to service rapidly growing demand

Partner with Metabolon to access:

R

A library of 5400+ known metabolites, 2000 in human plasma, all referenced in the context of biochemical pathways

  • That’s 5x the metabolites of the closest competitor
R

Unparalleled depth and breadth of experience analyzing and interpreting metabolomic data to find meaningful results

  • 10,000+ projects with hundreds of clients
  • 2,000+ publications covering 500 diseases, including numerous peer-reviewed journals such as Cell, Nature and Science
  • Nearly 40 PhDs in data science, molecular biology, and biochemistry

Using our robust platform and visualization tools, our experts are uniquely able to tell you more about your molecule and develop assay panels to help you zero in on the results you need.

Contact Us

Talk with an expert

Request a quote for our services or more information on sample types and handling procedures, need a letter of support, or simply have questions about how metabolomics can advance your research.

Corporate Headquarters

617 Davis Drive, Suite 100
Morrisville, NC 27560

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 110407
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709

+1 (919) 572-1711

+1 (919) 572-1721

International Headquarters

Metabolon GmbH

Zeppelinstraße 3
85399 Hallbergmoos
Germany

+49 89 99017752