Avocado fruit contains aliphatic acetogenins (oft-acetylated, odd-chain fatty alcohols) with promising bioactivities for both medical and food industries. However, we have scarce knowledge about their metabolism. The present work aimed to study changes in acetogenin profiles from mesocarp, lipid-containing idioblasts, and seeds from ‘Hass’ cultivar during fruit development, germination, and three harvesting years. An untargeted LC-MS based lipidomic analysis was also conducted to profile the lipidome of avocado fruit in each tissue.
The targeted analysis showed that acetogenin profiles and contents remained unchanged in avocado mesocarp during maturation and postharvest ripening, germination, and different harvesting years. However, a shift in the acetogenin profile distribution, accompanied with a sharp increase in concentration, was observed in seed during early maturation. Untargeted lipidomics showed that this shift was accompanied with remodeling of glycerolipids: TAGs and DAGs decreased during fruit growing in seed. Remarkably, the majority of the lipidome in mature seed was composed by acetogenins; we suggest that this tissue is able to synthesize them independently from mesocarp. On the other hand, lipid-containing idioblasts accumulated almost the entire acetogenin pool measured in the whole mesocarp, while only having 4% of the total fatty acids. The lipidome of this cell type changed the most when the fruit was ripening after harvesting, TAGs decreased while odd-chain DAGs increased. Notably, idioblast lipidome was more diverse than that from mesocarp.
Evidence shown here suggests that idioblasts are the main site of acetogenin biosynthesis in avocado mesocarp. This work unveiled the prevalence of aliphatic acetogenins in the avocado fruit lipidome and evidenced TAGs as initial donors of the acetogenin backbones in its biosynthesis. It also sets evidence for acetogenins being included in future works aimed at characterizing the avocado seed, as they are a main component of their lipidome.