Carotenoids in Higher Plants

  • B. H. Davies
Conference paper

Abstract

Of nearly 450 naturally occurring carotenoids, only one quarter have been found in higher plants (for list and structures, see Davies, [24]). Higher plant carotenoids were prominent among the carotenoids whose structures were elucidated by the classical chemical approaches of Karrer and of Kuhn [50] and, by 1952, as many as 60 of the 95 carotenoids then known had been isolated from higher plants [38]. This situation resulted not so much from an early intrinsic interest in these particular pigments as from the fact that higher plant tissues were available on a sufficient scale to provide the large amounts of pure carotenoid necessary for structural determinations by chemical methods. Since the advent of small-scale preparative (e.g., thin-layer chromatography) and physico-organic methods (e.g., mass spectrometry) and with the ready availability, through the culture collections, of a wealth of pure strains and mutants of microorganisms, the interests of carotenoid chemists have broadened to include algae, bacteria, and fungi. It is from smaller-scale studies of the pigments of such organisms that many unusual carotenoid structures have emerged in recent years [57]. Nevertheless, the higher plants, because of their fundamental importance to man, are of continuing interest. This is reflected in the many recent studies that have contributed to our current understanding of the distribution, metabolism, and function of higher plant carotenoids.

Keywords

Chlorophyll Nicotine NADPH Epoxide Diol 

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