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Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2008 Jul;72(7):1789-98. Epub 2008 Jul 7.

The biosynthetic pathway of curcuminoid in turmeric (Curcuma longa) as revealed by 13C-labeled precursors.

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  • 1Somatech Center, House Foods Corporation, Yotsukaido, Chiba, Japan.


In order to investigate the biosynthesis of curcuminoid in rhizomes of turmeric (Curcuma longa), we established an in vitro culture system of turmeric plants for feeding (13)C-labeled precursors. Analyses of labeled desmethoxycurcumin (DMC), an unsymmetrical curcuminoid, by (13)C-NMR, revealed that one molecule of acetic acid or malonic acid and two molecules of phenylalanine or phenylpropanoids, but not tyrosine, were incorporated into DMC. The incorporation efficiencies of the same precursors into DMC and curcumin were similar, and were in the order malonic acid > acetic acid, and cinnamic acid > p-coumaric acid >> ferulic acid. These results suggest the possibility that the pathway to curcuminoids utilized two cinnamoyl CoAs and one malonyl CoA, and that hydroxy- and methoxy-functional groups on the aromatic rings were introduced after the formation of the curcuminoid skeleton.

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