Mapping metabolome changes in Luffa aegyptiaca Mill fruits at different maturation stages via MS-based metabolomics and chemometrics

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Academy of Scientific Research and Technology

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Research Article

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Journal of Advanced Research

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Introduction: Luffa aegyptiaca Mill, sponge gourd or Egyptian cucumber, is grown worldwide for its edible fruit consumed as a vegetable like cucumber. Unlike young fruit (YF), the fully mature ripened fruit (MF) is strongly fibrous and is used as a cleanser to make scrubbing bath sponges. YF undergoes a complex series of physiological and biochemical changes during fruit ripening. However, the chemical compositional differences between YF and MF in Luffa aegyptiaca have not been distinguished to date. Objectives: Comprehensively compare the metabolites profile of YF and MF to give insight on how maturation stage affects chemical composition. Methods: Mass-based metabolomics comprising GC/MS and UHPLC/MS were adopted in this study targeting its volatile and non-volatile metabolites coupled with chemometrics to rationalize for the differences. Results: A total of 53 volatile metabolites were identified via headspace solid phase microextraction (SPME) comprising 66.2% aldehydes/furans, 51.6% alcohols, 38.2% ketones, 15.1% acids and 10.1% aromatics of which aldehydes/ furans were dominant at both fruit stages. Young fruit was in general more erniched in metabolites as revealed from UHPLC/MS and GC/MS analyses. The YF group encompassed higher levels of short chain alcohols (1-octen-3-ol) and aldehydes ((E)-2-hexenal and cucumber aldehyde) in addition to terpenoids (linalool). In contrast, fatty acids (octanoic acid) predominated MF specimens. UHPLC/MS analysis revealed for several oleanene triterpene glycosides as major secondary bioactive compounds, dihydroxy-oxo-oleanenoic acid glycoside found more abundant in YF versus MF as revealed from multivariate data analyses. Conclusions: Our results reveal for the distinct metabolite changes in L. aegyptiaca fruit in its different stages and to rationalize for its different usage.

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