Globoids and Phytase: The Mineral Storage and Release System in Seeds

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Phytate and phytases in seeds are the subjects of numerous studies, dating back as far as the early 20th century. Most of these studies concern the anti-nutritional properties of phytate, and the prospect of alleviating the effects of phytate with phytase. As reasonable as this may be, it has led to a fragmentation of knowledge, which hampers the appreciation of the physiological system at hand. In this review, we integrate the existing knowledge on the chemistry and biosynthesis of phytate, the globoid cellular structure, and recent advances on plant phytases. We highlight that these components make up a system that serves to store and—in due time—release the seed’s reserves of the mineral nutrients phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, and others, as well as inositol and protein. The central component of the system, the phytate anion, is inherently rich in phosphorous and inositol. The chemical properties of phytate enable it to sequester additional cationic nutrients. Compartmentalization and membrane transport processes regulate the buildup of phytate and its associated nutrients, resulting in globoid storage structures. We suggest, based on the current evidence, that the degradation of the globoid and the mobilization of the nutrients also depend on membrane transport processes, as well as the enzymatic action of phytase.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7519
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

    Research areas

  • phytate, phytase, globoids, nutrient storage, protein storage vacuole

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