African Journal of Biotechnology

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Enzymes and genes involved in the betalain biosynthesis in higher plants

H Xiao-Hong, G Zhao-Jian, X Xing-Guo


Betalains, a class of water-soluble nitrogen-containing pigments, replace anthocyanins and serve the analogous functions in 13 families of the order, caryophyllales. They modulate the attractive appearance of plants and protect them against destructive oxidative damage. Their antioxidant roles, radical
scavenging properties in human health and their potential uses in food and pharmaceutical industries have made significant progress achieved in the detection, purification, quantification, structure elucidation of betalains, and in particular in the understanding of biosynthetic pathways of the pigments,
the enzymes and their genes involved in the pathways. In this paper, major progress in betalain biosynthesis and the enzymes and genes involved in the biosynthetic pathways in higher plant are reviewed, and the perspectives discussed.

AJOL African Journals Online