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In Pursuit of Vitamin D in Plants

School of Public Health, Curtin University, Bentley 6102, Australia
National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Research School of Population Health, The Australian National University, Canberra 0200, Australia
Department of Biology, Lund University, SE‐223 62 Lund, Sweden
International Institute of Agri‐Food Security (IIAFS), Curtin University, Bentley 6102, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2017, 9(2), 136;
Received: 14 November 2016 / Accepted: 7 February 2017 / Published: 13 February 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vitamin D: Current Issues and New Perspectives)
Vitamin D deficiency is a global concern. Much research has concentrated on the endogenous synthesis of vitamin D in human skin following exposure to ultraviolet‐B radiation (UV‐B, 280–315 nm). In many regions of the world there is insufficient UV‐B radiation during winter months for adequate vitamin D production, and even when there is sufficient UV‐B radiation, lifestyles and concerns about the risks of sun exposure may lead to insufficient exposure and to vitamin D deficiency. In these situations, dietary intake of vitamin D from foods or supplements is important for maintaining optimal vitamin D status. Some foods, such as fatty fish and fish liveroils, certain meats, eggs, mushrooms, dairy, and fortified foods, can provide significant amounts of vitamin D when considered cumulatively across the diet. However, little research has focussed on assessing edible plant foods for potential vitamin D content. The biosynthesis of vitamin D in animals, fungi and yeasts is well established; it is less well known that vitamin D is also biosynthesised in plants. Research dates back to the early 1900s, beginning with in vivo experiments showing the anti‐rachitic activity of plants consumed by animals with induced rickets, and in vitro experiments using analytical methods with limited sensitivity. The most sensitive, specific and reliable method for measuring vitamin D and its metabolites is by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC‐MS/MS). These assays have only recently been customised to allow measurement in foods, including plant materials. This commentary focuses on the current knowledge and research gaps around vitamin D in plants, and the potential of edible plants as an additional source of vitamin D for humans. View Full-Text
Keywords: vitamin D; 25‐hydroxyvitamin D; 1,25‐dihydroxyvitamin D; plants vitamin D; 25‐hydroxyvitamin D; 1,25‐dihydroxyvitamin D; plants
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MDPI and ACS Style

Black, L.J.; Lucas, R.M.; Sherriff, J.L.; Björn, L.O.; Bornman, J.F. In Pursuit of Vitamin D in Plants. Nutrients 2017, 9, 136.

AMA Style

Black LJ, Lucas RM, Sherriff JL, Björn LO, Bornman JF. In Pursuit of Vitamin D in Plants. Nutrients. 2017; 9(2):136.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Black, Lucinda J., Robyn M. Lucas, Jill L. Sherriff, Lars O. Björn, and Janet F. Bornman 2017. "In Pursuit of Vitamin D in Plants" Nutrients 9, no. 2: 136.

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