Metabolomics in CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB).

The CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB) is supporting investments in metabolomics in collaboration with the Fraser lab at Royal Holloway University London (RHUL). The metabolome is the global collection of all low molecular weight chemical compounds that are produced by cell metabolism in different sizes, polarity and quantities. It thus provides a direct functional readout of the cell’s physiological status and activity under specific environmental settings. Metabolomics research in RTB has involved metabolite profiling for making significant marker-trait associations, assessment of genetic diversity and varietal identification. Therefore, this has included screening young plantlets as proxies for mature end-product quality (roots, tubers and banana fruits), identifying potential biomarkers for abiotic stress tolerance and for product-quality traits. In this paper, we review the main findings of this work, and discuss the implications for breeding programs in the RTB Program.