Carotenoids represent one of the most widely distributed and structurally diverse classes of natural pigments, with important functions in photosynthesis, nutrition, and protection against photooxidative damage. In the eubacterial community, yellow, orange, and red carotenoids are produced by anoxygenic photosynthetic bacteria, cyanobacteria, and certain species of nonphotosynthetic bacteria. Many eukaryotes, including all algae and plants, as well as some fungi, also synthesize these pigments. In noncarotenogenic organisms, such as mammals, birds, amphibians, fish, crustaceans, and insects, dietary carotenoids and their metabolites also serve important biological roles. Within the last decade, major advances have been made in the elucidation of the molecular genetics, the biochemistry, and the regulation of eubacterial carotenoid biosynthesis. These developments have important implications for eukaryotes, and they make increasingly attractive the genetic manipulation of carotenoid content for biotechnological purposes.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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