Table

Interesting Applications of Molecular Biology in the Flavonoid Biosynthetic Pathway to Improve Characteristics of Commercial Importance

Characteristic

Observations"

Production of male sterile hybrid crops

In the selection of redder cultivars of apple

Improvement of Sacharomyces cerevisiae

Production of acylated anthocyanins

Forages with improved concentrations of condensed tannins

In alfalfa, f3h is associated with flavonoid accumulation in pollen grain and ovary and is involved in plant fertility.

In tobacco, flavonoids are involved in the development of male gametophyte. Plants transformed with stilbene synthase produce male sterile plants. Stilbene synthase redirects the pathway and the concentration of intermediates used by chalcone synthase are diminished.

By using random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD), a marker that corresponds to a regulatory gene of the biosynthesis of anthocyanins was identified. Thus, redder cultivars can be selected at the seedling stage.

S. cerevisiae was transformed with the anthocyanin-P-glucosidase gene of Candida molishinana. The fermentation with modified S. cerevisiae produces white wines although red grapes are used.

The gene for the anthocyanin-3-glucoside rhamnosyltransferase (UFGT) of Antirrhinum majus is used to transform lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflorum Grise). Transformed plants produce novel 3-O-glucosylated flavonols.

Lotus corniculatus is transformed with the dfr cDNA of Antirrhinum majus. Transformed plants produce increased condensed tannin levels.

a f3h = flavonoid-3-hydroxylase; dfr = dihyroflavonol-4-reductase. Source: Adapted from Delgado-Vargas et al. (2000).17

chelating metal ions such as Fe+2. Thus, the production of an anthocyanin-peroxidase system in the vacuoles may contribute to the mechanisms of protection of plants against oxidative damage.32

c. Cold Injury and Anthocyanins

The injury caused by freezing temperatures is mainly attributed to destruction of plant cell membrane systems by active oxygen and other free radicals; phenols in plants can remove oxygen and other free radicals. Anthocyanins accumulated in vacuoles may protect the vacuole membrane from low temperature injury; however, the role played by anthocyanins in membrane protection remains to be elucidated in the future.34

d. Marker for Good Manufacturing Practices in Food Processing

As is well known, a large number of products are colored by anthocyanins, such as wines, juices, jams, and soft drinks. It is clear that if consumers pay for a cherry jam, then they wish to have a jam prepared with this fruit. However, some processors

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