Open avenues for carotenoid biofortification of plant tissues

Plant Commun. 2023 Jan 9;4(1):100466. doi: 10.1016/j.xplc.2022.100466. Epub 2022 Oct 27.


Plant carotenoids are plastidial isoprenoids that function as photoprotectants, pigments, and precursors of apocarotenoids such as the hormones abscisic acid and strigolactones. Humans do not produce carotenoids but need to obtain them from their diet as precursors of retinoids, including vitamin A. Carotenoids also provide numerous other health benefits. Multiple attempts to improve the carotenoid profile of different crops have been carried out by manipulating carotenoid biosynthesis, degradation, and/or storage. Here, we will focus on open questions and emerging subjects related to the use of biotechnology for carotenoid biofortification. After impressive achievements, new efforts should be directed to extend the use of genome-editing technologies to overcome regulatory constraints and improve consumer acceptance of the carotenoid-enriched products. Another challenge is to prevent off-target effects like those resulting from altered hormone levels and metabolic homeostasis. Research on biofortification of green tissues should also look for new ways to deal with the negative impact that altered carotenoid contents may have on photosynthesis. Once a carotenoid-enriched product has been obtained, additional effort should be devoted to confirming that carotenoid intake from the engineered food is also improved. This work involves ensuring post-harvest stability and assessing bioaccessibility of the biofortified product to confirm that release of carotenoids from the food matrix has not been negatively affected. Successfully addressing these challenges will ensure new milestones in carotenoid biotechnology and biofortification.

Keywords: biofortification; biotechnology; carotenoids; plastidial isoprenoids; vitamin A.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biofortification*
  • Carotenoids* / metabolism
  • Crops, Agricultural / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Terpenes
  • Vitamin A / metabolism


  • Carotenoids
  • Vitamin A
  • Terpenes