Plant ionomics: From elemental profiling to environmental adaptation

Xin-Yuan Huang, David E. Salt

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Ionomics is a high throughput elemental profiling approach to study the molecular mechanistic basis underlying mineral nutrient and trace element composition (aka ionome) of living organisms. Since the concept of ionomics was first introduced more than ten years ago, significant progress has been made in the identification of genes and gene networks that control the ionome. In this update, we summarise the progress made in using the ionomics approach over the last decade, including the identification of genes by forward genetics and the study of natural ionomic variation. We further discuss the potential application of ionomics to investigate the ecological functions of ionomic alleles in adaptation to the environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)787-797
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Plant
Issue number6
Early online date19 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jun 2016

Bibliographical note

UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council grant BB/L027739/1 and BB/L000113/1 (to D.E.S.), the US National Institutes of Health grant 2R01GM078536 (to D.E.S.), and the US National Science Foundation grant IOB 0419695 (to D.E.S.)

We wish to thank our collaborators Mary Lou Guerinot, Niko Geldner, and Christian Hermans for kindly allowing us to incorporate in this update unpublished data on BRUTUS, SGN1, and SGN3, respectively. We also thank Mary Lou Guerinot, Niko Geldner, Takehiro Kamiya, and the ERA-CAPS Root Barrier project for productive discussions relating to ionomics and the plant ionome. No conflict of interest declared.


  • nutrient homeostasis
  • natural variation
  • ionomics
  • Arabidopsis thaliana
  • Casparian strip
  • adaptation


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