Metabolic and biotransformation effects on dietary glucosinolates, their bioavailability, catabolism and biological effects in different organisms

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Chemistry Department

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Zeinab T. Shakour; Naglaa G. Shehab; Ahmed S. Gomaa; Ludger A. Wessjohann; Mohamed A.Farag

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Research Article

Publication Title

Biotechnology advances

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Glucosinolate-producing plants have long been recognized for both their distinctive benefits to human nutrition and their resistance traits against pathogens and herbivores. Despite the accumulation of glucosinolates (GLS) in plants is associated with their resistance to various biotic and abiotic stresses, the defensive and biological activities of GLS are commonly conveyed by their metabolic products. In view of this, metabolism is considered the driving factor upon the interactions of GLS-producing plants with other organisms, also influenced by plant and plant attacking or digesting organism characteristics. Several microbial pathogens and insects have evolved the capacity to detoxify GLS-hydrolysis products or inhibit their formation via different means, highlighting the relevance of their metabolic abilities for the plants' defense system activation and target organism detoxification. Strikingly, some bacteria, fungi and insects can likewise produce their own myrosinase (MYR)-like enzymes in one of the most important adaptation strategies against the GLS-MYR plant defense system. Knowledge of GLS metabolic pathways in herbivores and pathogens can impact plant protection efforts and may be harnessed upon for genetically modified plants that are more resistant to predators. In humans, the interest in the implementation of GLS in diets for the prevention of chronic diseases has grown substantially. However, the efficiency of such approaches is dependent on GLS bioavailability and metabolism, which largely involves the human gut microbiome. Among GLS-hydrolytic products, isothiocyanates (ITC) have shown exceptional properties as chemical plant defense agents against herbivores and pathogens, along with their health-promoting benefits in humans, at least if consumed in reasonable amounts. Deciphering GLS metabolic pathways provides critical information for catalyzing all types of GLS towards the generation of ITCs as the biologically most active metabolites. This review provides an overview on contrasting metabolic pathways in plants, bacteria, fungi, insects and humans towards GLS activation or detoxification. Further, suggestions for the preparation of GLS containing plants with improved health benefits are presented.

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