Modern breeding and biotechnological approaches to enhance carotenoid accumulation in seeds

M. L. Federico, Monica Schmidt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


There is an increasing demand for carotenoids, which are fundamental components of the human diet, for example as precursors of vitamin A. Carotenoids are also potent antioxidants and their health benefits are becoming increasingly evident. Protective effects against prostate cancer and age-related macular degeneration have been proposed for lycopene and lutein/zeaxanthin, respectively. Additionally, “-carotene, astaxanthin and canthaxanthin are high-value carotenoids used by the food industry as feed supplements and colorants. The production and consumption of these carotenoids from natural sources, especially from seeds, constitutes an important step towards fortifying the diet of malnourished people in developing nations. Therefore, attempts to metabolically manipulate “-carotene production in plants have received global attention, especially after the generation of Golden Rice (Oryza sativa). The endosperms of Golden Rice seeds synthesize and accumulate large quantities of “-carotene (provitamin A), yielding a characteristic yellow color in the polished grains. Classical breeding efforts have also focused in the development of cultivars with elevated seed carotenoid content, with maize and other cereals leading the way. In this communication we will summarize transgenic efforts and modern breeding strategies to fortify various crop seeds with nutraceutical carotenoids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)345-358
Number of pages14
JournalSub-cellular biochemistry
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016


  • Brassica napus
  • Carotenoids in Seeds
  • Crop fortification
  • Golden rice
  • Metabolic engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research


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