Prof. Chen Guilin-led research team makes progress in study of metabolic mechanism of licorice under drought stress

Drought stress is one of the important abiotic stresses that restrict the growth of plants, which has an adverse effect on the morphology, physiology and biochemistry of plants. So it is very important to understand the metabolic mechanism of plants under drought stress.

On December, 11, 2021, Industrial Crops & Products(one of the first-class-section SCI journals), a renowned international academic journal, published the research paper of Prof. Chen Guilin-led research team, which is titled “Non-targeted metabolomic analysis of the variations in the metabolites of two genotypes of Glycyrrhiza uralensis Fisch. under drought stress”(URL:

Two genotypes of licorice are studied in this work(Glycyrrhiza uralensis and Glycyrrhiza glabra Fisch). And non-targeted metabolomic technology is used to comparatively investigate the metabolites changes under four different degrees of drought stress of two morphologically distinct genotypes of licorice. It is found that the EMP pathway and TCA cycle of the two genotypes of licorice are both activated under drought stress, which provides materials and energy for accumulation of flavonoid compounds. Genotype 2 licorice has a different metabolizing mechanism to respond to drought stress. Glycyrrhiza uralensis has a more active antioxidant enzyme system and glycyrrhiza glabra deals with drought by increasing more metabolites such as amino acid, lipid and flavonoid. The results of this study provide the theoretical grounds for understanding the potential biochemical pathways of licorice to respond to drought and are very important for improving the quality of licorice and selecting the licorice that can respond to drought effectively.

Zhang Qianqian, a PhD candidate, is the first author of the paper and Prof. Chen Guilin the correspondent author. The study has been completed at such research platforms as the Key Laboratory of Endemic and Herbage Crop Biology of the Ministry of Education and Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region Center for Research on the Standardized Production Technologies for Chinese Traditional Medicines and Mongolian Medicines. This work is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China and Inner Mongolia Science & Technology Plan.


Licorice in the field

Metabolomic model of licorice responding to drought

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