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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14(7), 13763-13781; doi:10.3390/ijms140713763

Biosynthetic Pathway and Health Benefits of Fucoxanthin, an Algae-Specific Xanthophyll in Brown Seaweeds

Faculty of Fisheries Sciences, Hokkaido University, 3-1-1 Minato-cho, Hakodate 041-8611, Japan
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Received: 12 April 2013 / Revised: 18 June 2013 / Accepted: 25 June 2013 / Published: 2 July 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Research in Plant Secondary Metabolism)
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Abstract

Fucoxanthin is the main carotenoid produced in brown algae as a component of the light-harvesting complex for photosynthesis and photoprotection. In contrast to the complete elucidation of the carotenoid biosynthetic pathways in red and green algae, the biosynthetic pathway of fucoxanthin in brown algae is not fully understood. Recently, two models for the fucoxanthin biosynthetic pathway have been proposed in unicellular diatoms; however, there is no such information for the pathway in brown seaweeds to date. Here, we propose a biosynthetic pathway for fucoxanthin in the brown seaweed, Ectocarpus siliculosus, derived from comparison of carotenogenic genes in its sequenced genome with those in the genomes of two diatoms, Thalassiosira pseudonana and Phaeodactylum tricornutum. Currently, fucoxanthin is receiving attention, due to its potential benefits for human health. Therefore, new knowledge regarding the medical and nutraceutical properties of fucoxanthin from brown seaweeds is also summarized here.
Keywords: biosynthetic pathway; brown seaweed; carotenoid; carotenogenic gene; Ectocarpus siliculosus; fucoxanthin; genome; health benefit biosynthetic pathway; brown seaweed; carotenoid; carotenogenic gene; Ectocarpus siliculosus; fucoxanthin; genome; health benefit
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Mikami, K.; Hosokawa, M. Biosynthetic Pathway and Health Benefits of Fucoxanthin, an Algae-Specific Xanthophyll in Brown Seaweeds. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14, 13763-13781.

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