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Antioxidants 2017, 6(4), 99;

Recent Advances in our Understanding of Tocopherol Biosynthesis in Plants: An Overview of Key Genes, Functions, and Breeding of Vitamin E Improved Crops

Plant Breeding Institute, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, 24118 Kiel, Germany
Institute of Cotton Research of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Anyang 455000, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 October 2017 / Revised: 19 November 2017 / Accepted: 23 November 2017 / Published: 1 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vitamin E)
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Tocopherols, together with tocotrienols and plastochromanols belong to a group of lipophilic compounds also called tocochromanols or vitamin E. Considered to be one of the most powerful antioxidants, tocochromanols are solely synthesized by photosynthetic organisms including plants, algae, and cyanobacteria and, therefore, are an essential component in the human diet. Tocochromanols potent antioxidative properties are due to their ability to interact with polyunsaturated acyl groups and scavenge lipid peroxyl radicals and quench reactive oxygen species (ROS), thus protecting fatty acids from lipid peroxidation. In the plant model species Arabidopsis thaliana, the required genes for tocopherol biosynthesis and functional roles of tocopherols were elucidated in mutant and transgenic plants. Recent research efforts have led to new outcomes for the vitamin E biosynthetic and related pathways, and new possible alternatives for the biofortification of important crops have been suggested. Here, we review 30 years of research on tocopherols in model and crop species, with emphasis on the improvement of vitamin E content using transgenic approaches and classical breeding. We will discuss future prospects to further improve the nutritional value of our food. View Full-Text
Keywords: vitamin E; tocopherol; antioxidant; biofortification; crop breeding vitamin E; tocopherol; antioxidant; biofortification; crop breeding

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Fritsche, S.; Wang, X.; Jung, C. Recent Advances in our Understanding of Tocopherol Biosynthesis in Plants: An Overview of Key Genes, Functions, and Breeding of Vitamin E Improved Crops. Antioxidants 2017, 6, 99.

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