Special Issue "Carotenoid Biosynthesis, Regulation, Storage and Degradation in Plants"

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 29 February 2020.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Chris Cazzonelli
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, Western Sydney University, Richmond, NSW, 2753, Australia.
Interests: plant molecular biology; carotenoid secondary metabolism; RNA and epigenetic regulation; signaling metabolites; genomics; horticulture
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Plants are natural chemical factories that synthesize health-promoting micronutrients such as the carotenoids provitamin A. Carotenoids are conjugated 40 carbon pigments synthesised in all photosynthetic organisms, as well as non-photosynthetic bacteria, fungi, aphids and mites. Carotenoids promote health, sexual behaviour and reproduction in animals, forming the basis of drugs, medicines, colours and flavours in food. For example, the carotenoid β-carotene (provitamin A)—derived from eating plants—is an essential dietary requirement for animals to make Vitamin A that promotes eye health.

In plants, carotenoids help capture light, and provide photoprotection and signal control over gene expression. Biosynthesis is required throughout a plant’s life cycle, with the composition and levels of carotenoids finely tuned to the environment and the stage of development. Carotenoids are synthesised and sequestered in plastid organelles such as dark-grown etioplasts, light-grown chloroplasts, leucoplasts from roots, amyloplasts from seeds and chromoplasts from fruits. Process that control plastid biogenesis, differentiation and/or operations of control can ultimately alter carotenoid accumulation. While carotenoid biosynthesis is well understood, the regulation of carotenoid biosynthesis and cleavage into apocarotenoid signalling metabolites has emerged as the next frontier in carotenoid biology.

Epigenetic and metabolic feedback regulation of the carotenoid pathway can alter carotenoid homeostasis, signifying essential functions for carotenoids in mediating development and/or responding to changes in the environment. Carotenoids can be degraded by enzymatic and non-enzymatic oxidative cleavage, generating phytohormones as well as mobile apocarotenoid signalling metabolites. Emerging trends in carotenoid biology are unearthing new apocarotenoid signals, their pathways for synthesis and their mechanisms of action. Some of these aprocarotenoids have recently emerged as bioactive molecules to treat human cancer (dihydroactinidiolide); induce plant herbivore resistance (loliolide); and control root development (anchorene), parasitic weed germination (strigolactone), growth (zaxinone) as well as stress acclimation (β-cyclocitral) in plants. This Special Issue of Plants invites submissions that address the above issues and describe new aspects related to carotenoid biology in plants.

Dr. Chris Cazzonelli
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Plants is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • plants
  • carotenoid
  • apocarotenoid
  • biosynthesis
  • regulation
  • signaling
  • plastid biogenesis
  • development

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Carotenoids in Cereal Food Crops: Composition and Retention throughout Grain Storage and Food Processing
Plants 2019, 8(12), 551; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants8120551 - 28 Nov 2019
Carotenoids are C40 isoprenoids synthesized by plants, as well as some bacteria, fungi and algae, that have been reported to be responsible for a number of benefits conferred on human health. The inability of animals and humans to synthesize de novo these compounds [...] Read more.
Carotenoids are C40 isoprenoids synthesized by plants, as well as some bacteria, fungi and algae, that have been reported to be responsible for a number of benefits conferred on human health. The inability of animals and humans to synthesize de novo these compounds is the reason why they must be introduced from dietary sources. In cereal grains, carotenoids are important phytochemicals responsible for the characteristic yellow colour of the endosperm, which confers nutritional and aesthetic quality to cereal-based products. Cereals are staple foods for a large portion of the world population, and the biofortification of cereal grains with carotenoids may represent a simple way to prevent many human diseases and disorders. Unfortunately, evidence exists that the storage and processing of cereal grains into food products may negatively impact their carotenoid content; so, this loss should be taken into consideration when analysing the potential health benefits of the cereal-based products. Focusing on the recent updates, this review summarizes the chemical composition of the carotenoids in the grains of staple cereals, including wheat, maize, rice and sorghum, the main factors that affect their carotenoid content during storage and processing and the most fruitful strategies used improve the grain carotenoid content and limit the carotenoid post-harvest losses. Full article
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