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Nat Biotechnol. 2004 Jun;22(6):746-54. Epub 2004 Apr 25.

Engineering plants with increased levels of the antioxidant chlorogenic acid.

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1
John Innes Centre, Norwich Research Park, Colney, Norwich, NR4 7UH, UK.

Abstract

The trend to view many foods not only as sustenance but also as medicine, so-called functional foods, is increasing. Phenolics are the most widespread dietary antioxidants, and among these, chlorogenic acid (CGA) accumulates to high levels in some crop plants. CGA acts as an antioxidant in plants and protects against degenerative, age-related diseases in animals when supplied in their diet. cDNA clones encoding the enzyme that synthesizes CGA, hydroxycinnamoyl-CoA quinate: hydroxycinnamoyl transferase (HQT), were characterized from tomato and tobacco. Gene silencing proved HQT to be the principal route for accumulation of CGA in solanaceous species. Overexpression of HQT in tomato caused plants to accumulate higher levels of CGA, with no side-effects on the levels of other soluble phenolics, and to show improved antioxidant capacity and resistance to infection by a bacterial pathogen. Tomatoes with elevated CGA levels could be used in foods with specific benefits for human health.

PMID:
15107863
DOI:
10.1038/nbt966
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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