Submitted to: Encyclopedia of Catalysis
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/5/2001
Publication Date: 1/29/2004
Citation: Oxidative dehydrogenation - biological, Glenn E. Bartley in, Encyclopedia of Catalysis, ed. Istvan T. Horvath, pubs. J. Wiley and Sons, NY, Vol. 5, pp. 424-449, 2003. Interpretive Summary: Many of the colored compounds in fruits and vegetables not only attract the eye as an indicator of ripeness but may also have significant health benefits. This article describes chemical, biochemical and genetic factors important to the formation of these compounds in nature. The compilation of information will assist researchers who seek to enhance and or control the formation of these compounds in agricultural crops.
Technical Abstract: Carotenoids are yellow, orange, red, and purple pigments found in microorganisms, fungi, plants, and animals. They are crucial to the survival of photosynthetic organisms through protective properties that prevent the formation of singlet oxygen and quench free radicals, thus curbing potentially damaging photooxidative processes. They serve as attractants in flowers and vegetables and are often added to food to make it more pleasing to the eye. Recently, carotenoids have become more interesting to pharmaceutical companies because of their antioxidant and tumor-suppressing capabilities. The purpose of this article is to review the current ideas concerning the process of the desaturation of carotenoids, an oxidative process, to those interested in this subject. The initial desaturation of carotenoids forms the precursors for most carotenoids that occur in nature. This article covers aspects of carotenoid desaturation; the precursor pathway and hitorical evidence for this pathway, the cloning of carotenoid deasaturase genes and tables of cloned genes, proteins themselves and in complexes, the mechanism of the reaction, gene regulation, and biotechnology.