Submitted to: Calcium Oxalate in Biological Systems
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/28/2004
Publication Date: 7/16/2005
Citation: Nakata, P.A. 2005. Insights into oxalate biosynthesis: developing strategies to improve the nutritional quality and production of plant foods [abstract]. Calcium Oxalate in Biological Systems. FASEB Summer Research Conferences. Paper No. 2.
Technical Abstract: Oxalate is known to be produced in a vast number of organisms from simple microbes to complex animals. In animals the accumulation of these crystals is often associated with the pathological condition of urinary stone formation. In contrast to animals, other organisms appear to benefit from the ability to produce this simplest of the dicarboxylic acid. In some microbes, advantages are derived from oxalate functioning in pathogenesis, competition, nutrient acquisition, and tolerance to toxins (e.g., metals). Benefits from oxalate formation in plants include roles in calcium regulation, defense, and metal tolerance. Despite the widespread occurrence and importance of oxalates in nature, our understanding of its formation is still incomplete. In this report, progress in deciphering oxalate biosynthesis and calcium oxalate crystal formation will be presented. Potential application of this gained knowledge in improving the production and quality of plant foods will also be discussed.