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BioMed Research International
Volume 2017, Article ID 3065251, 12 pages
Research Article

Comparative Metabolome Profile between Tobacco and Soybean Grown under Water-Stressed Conditions

1Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, Dallas, TX 75252, USA
2The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Roel C. Rabara; ude.etatsds.skcaj@arabar.leor and Prateek Tripathi; ude.etatsds.skcaj@ihtapirt.keetarp

Received 4 September 2016; Revised 25 October 2016; Accepted 3 November 2016; Published 3 January 2017

Academic Editor: Peter J. Oefner

Copyright © 2017 Roel C. Rabara et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Understanding how plants respond to water deficit is important in order to develop crops tolerant to drought. In this study, we compare two large metabolomics datasets where we employed a nontargeted metabolomics approach to elucidate metabolic pathways perturbed by progressive dehydration in tobacco and soybean plants. The two datasets were created using the same strategy to create water deficit conditions and an identical metabolomics pipeline. Comparisons between the two datasets therefore reveal common responses between the two species, responses specific to one of the species, responses that occur in both root and leaf tissues, and responses that are specific to one tissue. Stomatal closure is the immediate response of the plant and this did not coincide with accumulation of abscisic acid. A total of 116 and 140 metabolites were observed in tobacco leaves and roots, respectively, while 241 and 207 were observed in soybean leaves and roots, respectively. Accumulation of metabolites is significantly correlated with the extent of dehydration in both species. Among the metabolites that show increases that are restricted to just one plant, 4-hydroxy-2-oxoglutaric acid (KHG) in tobacco roots and coumestrol in soybean roots show the highest tissue-specific accumulation. The comparisons of these two large nontargeted metabolomics datasets provide novel information and suggest that KHG will be a useful marker for drought stress for some members of Solanaceae and coumestrol for some legume species.