Cultivar-specific changes in primary and secondary metabolites in pak choi (Brassica rapa, Chinensis group) by methyl jasmonate

Moo Jung Kim, Yu Chun Chiu, Na Kyung Kim, Hye Min Park, Choong Hwan Lee, John A. Juvik, Kang Mo Ku

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Glucosinolates, their hydrolysis products and primary metabolites were analyzed in five pak choi cultivars to determine the effect of methyl jasmonate (MeJA) on metabolite flux from primary metabolites to glucosinolates and their hydrolysis products. Among detected glucosinolates (total 14 glucosinolates; 9 aliphatic, 4 indole and 1 aromatic glucosinolates), indole glucosinolate concentrations (153–229%) and their hydrolysis products increased with MeJA treatment. Changes in the total isothiocyanates by MeJA were associated with epithiospecifier protein activity estimated as nitrile formation. Goitrin, a goitrogenic compound, significantly decreased by MeJA treatment in all cultivars. Changes in glucosinolates, especially aliphatic, significantly differed among cultivars. Primary metabolites including amino acids, organic acids and sugars also changed with MeJA treatment in a cultivar-specific manner. A decreased sugar level suggests that they might be a carbon source for secondary metabolite biosynthesis in MeJA-treated pak choi. The result of the present study suggests that MeJA can be an effective agent to elevate indole glucosinolates and their hydrolysis products and to reduce a goitrogenic compound in pak choi. The total glucosinolate concentration was the highest in “Chinese cabbage” in the control group (32.5 µmol/g DW), but indole glucosinolates increased the greatest in “Asian” when treated with MeJA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1004
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 7 2017


  • Brassica rapa
  • Glucosinolate
  • Isothiocyanate
  • Methyl jasmonate
  • Pak choi

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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