Primary metabolism is essential for plant growth and survival and it is therefore involved in all physiological processes of the plant. In the past years the advancements in large-scale and high-throughput technologies have enhanced our ability to characterize the plant metabolome.
The development of methods for the simultaneous analysis of many different plant metabolites and the necessary software for subsequent data analysis have further expanded the possibilities to investigate plant responses from a system-oriented perspective. This allows the comparison of genetic and phenotypic variation at different molecular levels, enabling us to find associations between genotype and phenotype and their intermediate levels of information transduction. Metabolomics has become increasingly important for the characterization of the metabolic status of plants under different environmental and genetic perturbations.
The economic importance of potato and the increasing availability of genetic and molecular resources have stimulated research on many different aspects of the physiology of this crop and the regulation of complex traits. We used the available tools to explore the genetic basis of the composition and content of primary metabolites in a potato population. In this research, the possibilities to combine metabolite profiling with genetic information are explored to identify the genetic factors determining primary metabolism and to infer links between metabolites and agronomic phenotypes.