Metabolomics involves the study of the totality of metabolites present in the cell, tissue or whole organism in order to detect changes that occur in time and space. Various analytical tools, including gas and liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and capillary zone electrophoresis, have been employed to characterize the metabolome of a sample, with each technique affording specific advantages and limitations. This review describes a range of metabolic studies that have been performed on fruit tissues in general, with emphasis on avocado in particular. Although avocado is of commercial importance throughout the world, it is a very disperse species and its chemical composition has been poorly studied, especially since nearly all investigations have focused on just one of its landraces. Metabolic profiling of avocado has aimed mainly at identifying biomarkers related to fruit growth, ripening, classification and storage, or has sought to establish the genetic architecture underlying the accumulation of metabolites within the fruit. The current state of knowledge concerning these diverse aspects is described herein, and possible pointers to the future trend in metabolomic studies involving fruit tissues are outlined.
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