Patterns of Volatile Diversity Yield Insights Into the Genetics and Biochemistry of the Date Palm Fruit Volatilome

Jonathan M. Flowers, Khaled M. Hazzouri, Alain Lemansour, Tiago Capote, Muriel Gros-Balthazard, Sylvie Ferrand, Marc Lebrun, Khaled M.A. Amiri, Michael D. Purugganan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Volatile organic compounds are key components of the fruit metabolome that contribute to traits such as aroma and taste. Here we report on the diversity of 90 flavor-related fruit traits in date palms (Phoenix dactylifera L.) including 80 volatile organic compounds, which collectively represent the fruit volatilome, as well as 6 organic acids, and 4 sugars in tree-ripened fruits. We characterize these traits in 148 date palms representing 135 varieties using headspace solid-phase microextraction gas chromatography. We discovered new volatile compounds unknown in date palm including 2-methoxy-4-vinylphenol, an attractant of the red palm weevil (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus Olivier), a key pest that threatens the date palm crop. Associations between volatile composition and sugar and moisture content suggest that differences among fruits in these traits may be characterized by system-wide differences in fruit metabolism. Correlations between volatiles indicate medium chain and long chain fatty acid ester volatiles are regulated independently, possibly reflecting differences in the biochemistry of fatty acid precursors. Finally, we took advantage of date palm clones in our analysis to estimate broad-sense heritabilities of volatiles and demonstrate that at least some of volatile diversity has a genetic basis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number853651
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
StatePublished - Mar 14 2022


  • aroma
  • fatty acid ester
  • flavor
  • metabolic network
  • volatile organic compound
  • volatilome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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