Volume 95 Issue 1 | p. 6 | News of The Week
Issue Date: January 2, 2017

How tomatoes make cholesterol

Researchers uncover the biosynthetic pathway plants use to build this important sterol
Department: Science & Technology
News Channels: Biological SCENE
Keywords: biochemistry, synthetic biology, tomato, plants

People often turn to a plant-rich diet when they want to reduce their cholesterol intake. But plants often make the complicated sterol too, albeit at a level that’s at least two orders of magnitude less than that made by animals: Cholesterol can be found in leaf lipids, can be used to make a precursor for vitamin D-3, and can be turned into herbivore-deterrents and pathogen poisons, such as α-solanine in potatoes and α-tomatine in tomatoes.

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