Location: Plant Genetic Resources Unit (PGRU)Title: Genetic diversity of dihydrochalcone content in Malus germplasm
Submitted to: Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/20/2018
Publication Date: 4/7/2018
Citation: Gutierrez, B.L., Zhong, G., Brown, S. 2018. Genetic diversity of dihydrochalcone content in Malus germplasm. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution. 65(5):1485-1502. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10722-018-0632-7.
Interpretive Summary: We utilized the USDA National Plant Germplasm System apple collection in Geneva, NY to survey a compound unique to apple, called phloridzin. Phloridzin has nutritional properties which would be valuable in new apple cultivars, such as anti-diabetic, antioxidant, and anti-cancer. Throughout our work we identified apple accessions that had alternative forms of phloridzin, known as sieboldin and trilobatin. These compounds also have nutritional benefit to humans, but are only found in certain apple species. Utilizing these resources in apple breeding could further expand the nutritional protential of modern apples. Beyond breeding for more nutritional fruit, these compounds can help distinguish species and hybrids, in conjunction with genetic and morphological data.
Technical Abstract: Dihydrochalcones, beneficial phenolic compounds, are abundant in Malus Mill. species, particularly in vegetative tissues and seeds. Phloridzin (phloretin 2'-O-glucoside) is the primary dihydrochalcone in most Malus species including cultivated apple, Malus ×domestica Borkh. A few species contain sieboldin (3-hydroxyphloretin 4'-O-glucoside) or trilobatin (phloretin 4'-O-glucoside) in place of phloridzin, and interspecific hybrids may contain combinations of phloridzin, sieboldin, and trilobatin. Proposed health benefits of phloridzin include anti-cancer, antioxidant, and anti-diabetic properties, suggesting the potential to breed apples for nutritional improvement. Sieboldin and trilobatin are being investigated for nutritional value and unique chemical properties. Although some of the biosynthetic steps of dihydrochalcones are known, little is known about the extent of variation within Malus germplasm. This research explores the genetic diversity of leaf dihydrochalcone content and composition in Malus germplasm. Dihydrochalcone content was measured using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) from leaf samples of 377 accessions, representing 50 species and interspecific hybrids from the USDA-Agricultural Research Service (ARS) National Plant Germplasm System Malus collection. Within the accessions sampled, 284 accessions contained phloridzin as the primary dihydrochalcone, one had only trilobatin, two had phloridzin and trilobatin, 36 had sieboldin and trilobatin, and 54 had all three. Leaf phloridzin content ranged from 17.3 to 113.7 mg/g with a heritability of 0.76 across all accessions. Beyond the potential of dihydrochalcones for breeding purposes, dihydrochalcone composition may be indicative of hybridization or species misclassification.