Metabolic Pathway Engineering For Nutrition Enrichment
Plants form the basis of life and are the major sources of nutrition in the human diet. They have constantly been improved to meet the food demand of the ever-burgeoning world population. Although food sufficiency has been attained in many major food crops, concern about worldwide malnutrition has led scientists to aim at improving the food crops to alleviate the hidden hunger. Recently, research began to understand the biosynthesis of metabolites that have significant value for human health, to elucidate the regulation, storage, sink, and degradation of the metabolites and the interaction of the different metabolic biosynthesis pathways. This research focuses on manipulating the biosynthetic pathway to develop valueadded food crops (popularly known as functional food) with enhanced health benefits. So far, through metabolic engineering, transgenic plants have been developed to contain enhanced levels of vitamins (provitamin A, vitamins E and C), lysine, polyhydroxybutyrate, inulin, and flavonoids etc. Most of these metabolic pathways occur in the plastid compartment of the plant cell, though enzymes involved in the pathway are encoded by nuclear genes. Here we describe the efforts that are underway to extend nuclear transgenic technologies from model crops such as Arabidopsis to staple and non-staple food crops including rice, maize, rapeseed, soybean, potato and sugarbeet.
KeywordsStarch Lysine Methionine Flavonoid Threonine
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