Soil conditions and the plant microbiome boost the accumulation of monoterpenes in the fruit of Citrus reticulata ‘Chachi’

Multi-omics approaches illustrated the effects of soil properties and soil microorganisms on monoterpene production in the citrus peel of plants from core regions.

The bioactive components of the medical plants are the key factor determining the therapeutic effect of traditional Chinese medicine. The medicinal material quality of Citrus reticulata ‘Chachi’ differs depending on the bioactive components influenced by the planting area. However, plant-specific metabolism is poorly understood in relation to environmental factors such as soil nutrients and root-associated microbiome. 

  In the current study, a multi-omics approach was used to unravel the role of environmental factors in the accumulation of monoterpenes in the peel of Citrus reticulata ‘Chachi’ procured from the core (geo-authentic product region) and non-core (non-geo-authentic product region) geographical regions, respectively. In the core region, seven monoterpenes exhibited significantly higher concentrations in citrus peel compared to non-core regions. we revealed for the first time that the soil environment (high salinity, Mg, Mn and K) enhanced the monoterpene content by promoting expression of salt stress-responsive genes and terpene backbone synthase in host plant from the core region, while rhizosphere soil and endophyte microorganisms triggered the plant immune response or provided precursors of monoterpenes. The results provide a fundamental basis for improving the fruit quality depending on bioactive components by formula fertilization and precise microbiome management in agricultural practice.

Jianmu Su1, Yayu Wang2, Huan Liu2 and Hong Wu1.

1State Key Laboratory for Conservation and Utilization of Subtropical Agro-bioresources, Guangdong Laboratory for Lingnan Modern Agriculture, College of Life Sciences, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou 510642, China.

2State Key Laboratory of Agricultural Genomics, BGI-Shenzhen, Shenzhen 518083, China.

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