Research Topic

The Flavor of Stress – Aroma and Taste Alterations of Crops Induced by Biotic and Abiotic Stress Challenges

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Aroma and taste compounds, in particular, present a major challenge for flavor improvement of crops. Recent research has shown that the biosynthesis of several key odorants and tastants is controlled by genes whose expression is altered or even induced by biotic or abiotic stress. These new findings provide, ...

Aroma and taste compounds, in particular, present a major challenge for flavor improvement of crops. Recent research has shown that the biosynthesis of several key odorants and tastants is controlled by genes whose expression is altered or even induced by biotic or abiotic stress. These new findings provide, for example, a roadmap for improvement of flavor quality by the application of moderate, well controlled stress. This strategy aims at reducing the flavor deficiencies in modern commercial varieties as a “green” alternative to genetic engineering. The workflow for a successful implementation of this approach – from the identification of key odorants by molecular science techniques to the investigation of mechanisms controlling their biosynthesis – is complex and calls for interdisciplinary research.

Therefore, in this Research Topic we welcome all scientists to submit reviews and original research articles dealing with biotic or abiotic stress responses of relevant crops with emphasis on aroma and taste compounds. More specifically, in this Research Topic we welcome studies focused on:
• Development and application of mass spectrometry based techniques of metabolomics and proteomics to quantitatively assess key aroma and taste compound alterations in plant-derived foods induced by biotic stress challenges (bacteria, fungi) as well as abiotic stress conditions, including ozone oxidative stress, water stress, light stress, and mechanical stress
• Application of elicitors for transcriptional reprogramming of key aroma and taste compound
• Investigation of genotype specific metabolome alterations and characterization of gene clusters controlling the biosynthetic pathways of key stress metabolites by means of genome-wide association studies
• Identification of new, stress induced key metabolites by the sensomics approach comprising the bioactivity-guided screening of odorants ans tastants
• Sensory testing of specifically stressed crops by sensory panels and consumer liking studies.


Keywords: Aroma, Taste, Biotic Stress, Abiotic Stress, Flavor, Induced Biosynthesis


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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