Plant Storage Products (Carbohydrates, Oils and Proteins)
Published Online: 15 NOV 2011
Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. All rights reserved.
How to Cite
Kermode, A. R. 2011. Plant Storage Products (Carbohydrates, Oils and Proteins). eLS.
- Published Online: 15 NOV 2011
The majority of foods consumed by humans and their domesticated animals as food sources are ultimately obtained from plants, especially seeds. The storage products in seeds are predominately carbohydrates, oils and proteins, which are synthesised and stored in specialised tissues during seed development. Ultimately the storage products ensure successful establishment of the new plant, and the vigour of the young seedling. For example, the reserves are utilised following germination to support early growth of the seedling, allowing it to survive before it commences photosynthesis and autotrophic growth. Some of the storage compounds of seeds play a direct protective role, allowing the seed to withstand water loss during the final stages of its development, and to survive in the dry state for long periods under adverse environmental conditions. Molecular, proteomic and other approaches are elucidating the regulatory networks of genes and encoded proteins that underlie the biochemical and physiological basis of seed maturation, and the accumulation of stored compounds.
Seed proteins directly provide more than half of the global intake of dietary protein in humans.
In seeds, storage products (carbohydrates, oils and proteins) are accumulated during maturation and are utilised following germination to support early growth of the seedling. Likewise, storage products accumulated over winter in tree bark, tubers and perennial weed roots provide nutrients for rapid resumption of growth in the spring.
There are regulatory networks of genes and encoded proteins that control the accumulation of stored compounds during seed maturation.
Some of the storage products accumulated in seeds and plants are related to their longevity and protect them against environmental stresses.
The genetic engineering of the storage products of seeds and plants is directed towards improving their nutritional, stability and food processing properties.
- seed quality;
- seedling vigour