Call for papers: Horticultural plant specialized secondary metabolism

Guest editors: Dr. Joshua Widhalm and Dr. Kranthi Varal (Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture and Center for Plant Biology, Purdue University)

Plants collectively produce hundreds of thousands of structurally diverse specialized (secondary) metabolites—also called “natural products”—that fulfill important ecological functions. Specialized metabolites are also responsible for quality traits (e.g. color, smell, taste, nutritional and health value) that contribute to the marketability and appeal of fruits, vegetables, ornamentals, and medicinal plants. Understanding the genetic basis of these traits is helping to design strategies for producing valuable plant products and enhancing characteristics of economically important crops.

Understanding of the biosynthesis and pathway regulation for many specialized metabolites has significantly improved over the last several years with contemporary advances in omics-guided gene discovery, expression regulation, synthetic biology, and reverse genetics approaches in non-model plants. Moreover, the “synthetic biology revolution” has enabled introduction and manipulation of specialized metabolite pathways in a variety of crops.

To highlight recent developments, Horticulture Research invites contributions on recent discoveries in biosynthesis, pathway regulation, pathway evolution and other broadly defined aspects of specialized metabolites in horticultural plants. Authors are invited to submit original research articles, reviews, or perspectives for tool development or other future directions to advance basic knowledge or translational research in the area of horticultural plant specialized metabolism with broad interest not only to horticulture, but also to broad plant biology.

The deadline for submission is December 31st, 2021 at the submission system. Articles will be published upon acceptance with inclusion in a virtual Special Issue at a later date. Please specify “Hort-metabolism” in your cover letter when submitting. 

If you have any questions, please contact the guest editors, Drs. Widhalm or Varala, or the EiC, Max Cheng.

Dr. Joshua Widhalm (
Dr. Kranthi Varala (
Dr. Max Cheng (