Table_1_Multi-omic characterisation as a tool to improve knowledge, valorisation and conservation of wild fruit genetic resources: the case of Arbutus unedo L.xlsx
The valorisation and conservation of plant genetic resources (PGRs) and wild fruit PGRs are critical to ensure the maintenance of genetic and cultural heritage and to promote new perspectives on resource use. New strategies to characterize PGRs are needed, and the omics approach can provide information that is still largely unknown. The Strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo L.) is an underutilized, drought and fire-resistant species distributed in the Mediterranean area and its berries have large ethnobotanical use. Although their phenolic profile and antioxidant capacity are known, they are not well characterised, particularly from a proteomic perspective. The aim of this work is the characterisation of two ecotypes of A. unedo (Campania and Sicily) from a molecular viewpoint to valorise and encourage the preservation of this wild fruit. Samples were collected from two different geographical areas to assess whether different geographical conditions could influence the characteristics of leaves and fruits at the three stages of ripening (green, veraison, red). Proteomic analysis identified 904 proteins, of which 122 showed significance along the ripening. Some of these differentially abundant proteins, such as chalcone synthase, show a marked increase during ripening. The protein functional classes with the highest representation are involved in protein and amino acid metabolism, glycolysis and in secondary metabolism. From a proteomic perspective, there are no differences between the fruits from the two regions compared by the ripening stage. However, the pedoclimatic metabolic imprinting allowed the observation of good diversity in the metabolomic profiles between the two ecotypes, especially for anthocyanins, 4 times more abundant in the Sicilian veraisoned fruit than in the Campania one, and catechins, with double the abundance in the Campania ecotype compared to the Sicilian ecotype in the green phase, but more abundant (3x) in the Sicilian veraisoned fruit. Phenolic compounds show a 20% greater abundance in the Campania green arbutus fruit than in the Sicilian one, values that then equalise as ripening progresses. Multi-omic characterisation enhanced the knowledge on a wild fruit plant species which shows specific adaptations and responses to the environment to be considered when addressing the issue of local agrobiodiversity.