The Synthetic Pathway of ?-Carotene: The Substance Behind Carrot’s Orange Color
?-Carotene is a natural plant pigment that gives carrots their characteristic orange color. This pigment is part of the family of organic compounds called carotenoids, which are typically found in plants and algae. ?-Carotene is an important precursor to vitamin A, which is essential for human health. To understand how this orange color is produced, it is important to understand the synthetic pathway of ?-carotene. The synthetic pathway of ?-carotene starts with the condensation of two molecules of geranylgeranyl diphosphate (GGDP) to form phytyl diphosphate (PDP). This condensation reaction is catalyzed by phytyl diphosphate synthase (PDS) and is the first step in the carotenoid biosynthetic pathway (Kim et al., 2017). PDP is then elongated by the enzyme phytyl diphosphate kinase (PDK), which adds two isoprene units. This reaction produces lycopene, which is the first carotenoid in the pathway (Kim et al., 2017). Finally, lycopene is converted to ?-carotene by the action of the lycopene ?-cyclase enzyme. This enzyme is responsible for the formation of the ?-ionone ring, which gives ?-carotene its characteristic orange color (Kim et al., 2017). Cont…
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