Metabolic engineering of sugars and simple sugar derivatives in plants

Patrick, John W., Botha, Frikkie C. and Birch, Robert G. (2013) Metabolic engineering of sugars and simple sugar derivatives in plants. Plant Biotechnology Journal, 11 2: 142-156. doi:10.1111/pbi.12002

Author Patrick, John W.
Botha, Frikkie C.
Birch, Robert G.
Title Metabolic engineering of sugars and simple sugar derivatives in plants
Journal name Plant Biotechnology Journal   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1467-7644
Publication date 2013-02
Year available 2012
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1111/pbi.12002
Volume 11
Issue 2
Start page 142
End page 156
Total pages 15
Place of publication Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Abstract Carbon captured through photosynthesis is transported, and sometimes stored in plants, as sugar. All organic compounds in plants trace to carbon from sugars, so sugar metabolism is highly regulated and integrated with development. Sugars stored by plants are important to humans as foods and as renewable feedstocks for industrial conversion to biofuels and biomaterials. For some purposes, sugars have advantages over polymers including starches, cellulose or storage lipids. This review considers progress and prospects in plant metabolic engineering for increased yield of endogenous sugars and for direct production of higher-value sugars and simple sugar derivatives. Opportunities are examined for enhancing export of sugars from leaves. Focus then turns to manipulation of sugar metabolism in sugar-storing sink organs such as fruits, sugarcane culms and sugarbeet tubers. Results from manipulation of suspected ‘limiting’ enzymes indicate a need for clearer understanding of flux control mechanisms, to achieve enhanced levels of endogenous sugars in crops that are highly selected for this trait. Outcomes from in planta conversion to novel sugars and derivatives range from severe interference with plant development to field demonstration of crops accumulating higher-value sugars at high yields. The differences depend on underlying biological factors including the effects of the novel products on endogenous metabolism, and on biotechnological fine-tuning including developmental expression and compartmentation patterns. Ultimately, osmotic activity may limit the accumulation of sugars to yields below those achievable using polymers; but results indicate the potential for increases above current commercial sugar yields, through metabolic engineering underpinned by improved understanding of plant sugar metabolism.
Keyword Metabolic engineering
Novel sugars
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online 8 October 2012.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collections: School of Agriculture and Food Sciences
Official 2013 Collection
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 27 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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