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Front Plant Sci. 2012 Feb 20;3:29. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2012.00029. eCollection 2012.

Maize provitamin a carotenoids, current resources, and future metabolic engineering challenges.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Lehman College, The City University of New York NY, USA.


Vitamin A deficiency is a serious global health problem that can be alleviated by improved nutrition. Development of cereal crops with increased provitamin A carotenoids can provide a sustainable solution to eliminating vitamin A deficiency worldwide. Maize is a model for cereals and a major staple carbohydrate source. Here, we discuss maize carotenogenesis with regard to pathway regulation, available resources, and current knowledge for improving carotenoid content and levels of provitamin A carotenoids in edible maize endosperm. This knowledge will be applied to improve the nutritional composition of related Poaceae crops. We discuss opportunities and challenges for optimizing provitamin A carotenoid biofortification of cereal food crops.


Poaceae; beta-carotene; carotenoids; endosperm; maize; metabolic engineering; vitamin A

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