Carotenoid Distribution in Nature
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Carotenoids are naturally occurring red, orange and yellow pigments that are synthesized by plants and some microorganisms and fulfill many important physiological functions. This chapter describes the distribution of carotenoid in microorganisms, including bacteria, archaea, microalgae, filamentous fungi and yeasts. We will also focus on their functional aspects and applications, such as their nutritional value, their benefits for human and animal health and their potential protection against free radicals. The central metabolic pathway leading to the synthesis of carotenoids is described as the three following principal steps: (i) the synthesis of isopentenyl pyrophosphate and the formation of dimethylallyl pyrophosphate, (ii) the synthesis of geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate and (iii) the synthesis of carotenoids per se, highlighting the differences that have been found in several carotenogenic organisms and providing an evolutionary perspective. Finally, as an example, the synthesis of the xanthophyll astaxanthin is discussed.
Quote ItemEn: Stange, Claudia (ed.). Carotenoids in Nature. Biosynthesis, Regulation and Function. Switzerland: Springer, 2016. pp 3-33
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