Folate biofortification in food plants

Trends Plant Sci. 2008 Jan;13(1):28-35. doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2007.11.001. Epub 2007 Dec 20.


Folate deficiency is a global health problem affecting many people in the developing and developed world. Current interventions (industrial food fortification and supplementation by folic acid pills) are effective if they can be used but might not be possible in less developed countries. Recent advances demonstrate that folate biofortification of food crops is now a feasible complementary strategy to fight folate deficiency worldwide. The genes and enzymes of folate synthesis are sufficiently understood to enable metabolic engineering of the pathway, and results from pilot engineering studies in plants (and bacteria) are encouraging. Here, we review the current status of investigations in the field of folate enhancement on the eve of a new era in food fortification.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carbon-Nitrogen Ligases / genetics
  • Carbon-Nitrogen Ligases / metabolism
  • Folic Acid / biosynthesis*
  • GTP Cyclohydrolase / genetics
  • GTP Cyclohydrolase / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Plants, Edible / enzymology
  • Plants, Edible / genetics*
  • Plants, Edible / metabolism*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified*
  • Transaminases


  • Folic Acid
  • Transaminases
  • aminodeoxychorismate synthase
  • GTP Cyclohydrolase
  • Carbon-Nitrogen Ligases