Folates are essential cofactors for one-carbon transfer reactions and are needed in the diets of humans and animals. Because plants are major sources of dietary folate, plant folate biochemistry has long been of interest but progressed slowly until the genome era. Since then, genome-enabled approaches have brought rapid advances: We now know () all the plant folate synthesis genes and some genes of folate turnover and transport, () certain mechanisms governing folate synthesis, and () the subcellular locations of folate synthesis enzymes and of folates themselves. Some of this knowledge has been applied, simply and successfully, to engineer folate-enriched food crops (i.e., biofortification). Much remains to be discovered about folates, however, particularly in relation to homeostasis, catabolism, membrane transport, and vacuolar storage. Understanding these processes, which will require both biochemical and -omics research, should lead to improved biofortification strategies based on transgenic or conventional approaches.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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