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Review
. 2018 Sep;31(3):263-290.
doi: 10.1007/s00497-018-0336-3. Epub 2018 May 4.

Carbohydrate Reserves and Seed Development: An Overview

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Review

Carbohydrate Reserves and Seed Development: An Overview

Manuel Aguirre et al. Plant Reprod. .

Abstract

Seeds are one of the most important food sources, providing humans and animals with essential nutrients. These nutrients include carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, vitamins and minerals. Carbohydrates are one of the main energy sources for both plant and animal cells and play a fundamental role in seed development, human nutrition and the food industry. Many studies have focused on the molecular pathways that control carbohydrate flow during seed development in monocot and dicot species. For this reason, an overview of seed biodiversity focused on the multiple metabolic and physiological mechanisms that govern seed carbohydrate storage function in the plant kingdom is required. A large number of mutants affecting carbohydrate metabolism, which display defective seed development, are currently available for many plant species. The physiological, biochemical and biomolecular study of such mutants has led researchers to understand better how metabolism of carbohydrates works in plants and the critical role that these carbohydrates, and especially starch, play during seed development. In this review, we summarize and analyze the newest findings related to carbohydrate metabolism's effects on seed development, pointing out key regulatory genes and enzymes that influence seed sugar import and metabolism. Our review also aims to provide guidelines for future research in the field and in this way to assist seed quality optimization by targeted genetic engineering and classical breeding programs.

Keywords: Carbohydrates; Carbon partitioning; Seed biodiversity; Seed development; Seed storage composition; Source-sink ratios; Starch; Sucrose.

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