Globalization facilitated the spread of invasive alien species (IAS), undermining the stability of the world’s ecosystems. We investigated the metabolomic profiles of three IAS species: Chromolaena odorata (Asteraceae) Datura stramonium (Solanaceae), and Xanthium strumarium (Asteraceae), comparing metabolites of individual plants in their native habitats (USA), to their invasive counterparts growing in and around Kruger National Park (South Africa, ZA). Metabolomic samples were collected using RApid Metabolome Extraction and Storage (RAMES) technology, which immobilizes phytochemicals on glass fiber disks, reducing compound degradation, allowing long-term, storage and simplifying biochemical analysis. Metabolomic differences were analyzed using ultra-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS) of samples eluted from RAMES disks. Partial Least Squares-Discriminant Analysis (PLS-DA) of metabolomes of individual plants allowed statistical separation of species, native and invasive populations of each species, and some populations on the same continent. Invasive populations of all species were more phytochemically diverse than their native counterparts, and their metabolomic profiles were statistically distinguishable from their native relatives. These data may elucidate the mechanisms of successful invasion and rapid adaptive evolution of IAS. Moreover, RAMES technology combined with PLS-DA statistical analysis may allow taxonomic identification of species and, possibly, populations within each species.
Skubel, Sarah A.; Su, Xiaoyang; Poulev, Alexander; Foxcroft, Llewellyn C.; Dushenkov, Vyacheslav; and Raskin, Ilya, "Metabolomic differences between invasive alien plants from native and invaded habitats" (2020). CUNY Academic Works.