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. 2018 Sep;31(3):213-235.
doi: 10.1007/s00497-018-0325-6. Epub 2018 Feb 10.

Seeds as Oil Factories


Seeds as Oil Factories

Sébastien Baud. Plant Reprod. .


Studying seed oil metabolism. The seeds of higher plants represent valuable factories capable of converting photosynthetically derived sugars into a variety of storage compounds, including oils. Oils are the most energy-dense plant reserves and fatty acids composing these oils represent an excellent nutritional source. They supply humans with much of the calories and essential fatty acids required in their diet. These oils are then increasingly being utilized as renewable alternatives to petroleum for the chemical industry and for biofuels. Plant oils therefore represent a highly valuable agricultural commodity, the demand for which is increasing rapidly. Knowledge regarding seed oil production is extensively exploited in the frame of breeding programs and approaches of metabolic engineering for oilseed crop improvement. Complementary aspects of this research include (1) the study of carbon metabolism responsible for the conversion of photosynthetically derived sugars into precursors for fatty acid biosynthesis, (2) the identification and characterization of the enzymatic actors allowing the production of the wide set of fatty acid structures found in seed oils, and (3) the investigation of the complex biosynthetic pathways leading to the production of storage lipids (waxes, triacylglycerols). In this review, we outline the most recent developments in our understanding of the underlying biochemical and molecular mechanisms of seed oil production, focusing on fatty acids and oils that can have a significant impact on the emerging bioeconomy.

Keywords: Fatty acid; Metabolism; Oil; Seed; Triacylglycerol.

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