Progress in understanding and improving oil content and quality in seeds

Front Plant Sci. 2023 Jan 26;14:1116894. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2023.1116894. eCollection 2023.


The world’s population is projected to increase by two billion by 2050, resulting in food and energy insecurity. Oilseed crops have been identified as key to address these challenges: they produce and store lipids in the seeds as triacylglycerols that can serve as a source of food/feed, renewable fuels, and other industrially-relevant chemicals. Therefore, improving seed oil content and composition has generated immense interest. Research efforts aiming to unravel the regulatory pathways involved in fatty acid synthesis and to identify targets for metabolic engineering have made tremendous progress. This review provides a summary of the current knowledge of oil metabolism and discusses how photochemical activity and unconventional pathways can contribute to high carbon conversion efficiency in seeds. It also highlights the importance of 13C-metabolic flux analysis as a tool to gain insights on the pathways that regulate oil biosynthesis in seeds. Finally, a list of key genes and regulators that have been recently targeted to enhance seed oil production are reviewed and additional possible targets in the metabolic pathways are proposed to achieve desirable oil content and quality.

PMID:36778708 | PMC:PMC9909563 | DOI:10.3389/fpls.2023.1116894


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