Plant L-ascorbic acid: chemistry, function, metabolism, bioavailability and effects of processing

MW Davey, M Van Montagu, D Inze, M Sanmartin, A Kanellis, N Smirnoff, IJJ Benzie, JJ Strain, D Favell, J Fletcher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

834 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Humans are unable to synthesise L-ascorbic acid (L-AA, ascorbate, vitamin C), and are thus entirely dependent upon dietary sources to meet needs. In both plant and animal metabolism, the biological functions of L-ascorbic acid are centred around the antioxidant properties of this molecule. Considerable evidence has been accruing in the last two decades of the importance of L-AA in protecting not only the plant from oxidative stress, but also mammals from various chronic diseases that have their origins in oxidative stress. Evidence suggests that the plasma levels of L-AA in large sections of the population are sub-optimal for the health protective effects of this vitamin. Until quite recently, little focus has been given to improving the L-AA content of plant foods, either in terms of the amounts present in commercial crop varieties, or in minimising losses prior to ingestion. Further, while L-AA biosynthesis in animals was elucidated in the 1960s,(l) it is only very recently that a distinct biosynthetic route for plants has been proposed,(2) The characterisation of this new pathway will undoubtedly provide the necessary focus and impetus to enable fundamental questions on plant L-AA metabolism to be resolved. This review focuses on the role of L-AA in metabolism and the latest studies regarding its biosynthesis, tissue compartmentalisation, turnover and catabolism. These inter-relationships are considered in relation to the potential to improve the L-AA content of crops. Methodology for the reliable analysis of L-AA in plant foods is briefly reviewed. The concentrations found in common food sources and the effects of processing, or storage prior to consumption are discussed, Finally the factors that determine the bioavailability of L-AA and how it may be improved are considered, as well as the most important future research needs. (C) 2000 Society of Chemical Industry.
LanguageEnglish
Pages825-860
JournalJournal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
Volume80
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - May 2000

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bioavailability
chemistry
ascorbic acid
metabolism
food plants
oxidative stress
biosynthesis
chronic diseases
protective effect
vitamins
animals
ingestion
mammals
antioxidants
cultivars
crops
methodology

Cite this

Davey, MW., Van Montagu, M., Inze, D., Sanmartin, M., Kanellis, A., Smirnoff, N., ... Fletcher, J. (2000). Plant L-ascorbic acid: chemistry, function, metabolism, bioavailability and effects of processing. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 80(7), 825-860.
Davey, MW ; Van Montagu, M ; Inze, D ; Sanmartin, M ; Kanellis, A ; Smirnoff, N ; Benzie, IJJ ; Strain, JJ ; Favell, D ; Fletcher, J. / Plant L-ascorbic acid: chemistry, function, metabolism, bioavailability and effects of processing. In: Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. 2000 ; Vol. 80, No. 7. pp. 825-860.
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Davey, MW, Van Montagu, M, Inze, D, Sanmartin, M, Kanellis, A, Smirnoff, N, Benzie, IJJ, Strain, JJ, Favell, D & Fletcher, J 2000, 'Plant L-ascorbic acid: chemistry, function, metabolism, bioavailability and effects of processing', Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, vol. 80, no. 7, pp. 825-860.

Plant L-ascorbic acid: chemistry, function, metabolism, bioavailability and effects of processing. / Davey, MW; Van Montagu, M; Inze, D; Sanmartin, M; Kanellis, A; Smirnoff, N; Benzie, IJJ; Strain, JJ; Favell, D; Fletcher, J.

In: Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, Vol. 80, No. 7, 05.2000, p. 825-860.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Plant L-ascorbic acid: chemistry, function, metabolism, bioavailability and effects of processing

AU - Davey, MW

AU - Van Montagu, M

AU - Inze, D

AU - Sanmartin, M

AU - Kanellis, A

AU - Smirnoff, N

AU - Benzie, IJJ

AU - Strain, JJ

AU - Favell, D

AU - Fletcher, J

PY - 2000/5

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N2 - Humans are unable to synthesise L-ascorbic acid (L-AA, ascorbate, vitamin C), and are thus entirely dependent upon dietary sources to meet needs. In both plant and animal metabolism, the biological functions of L-ascorbic acid are centred around the antioxidant properties of this molecule. Considerable evidence has been accruing in the last two decades of the importance of L-AA in protecting not only the plant from oxidative stress, but also mammals from various chronic diseases that have their origins in oxidative stress. Evidence suggests that the plasma levels of L-AA in large sections of the population are sub-optimal for the health protective effects of this vitamin. Until quite recently, little focus has been given to improving the L-AA content of plant foods, either in terms of the amounts present in commercial crop varieties, or in minimising losses prior to ingestion. Further, while L-AA biosynthesis in animals was elucidated in the 1960s,(l) it is only very recently that a distinct biosynthetic route for plants has been proposed,(2) The characterisation of this new pathway will undoubtedly provide the necessary focus and impetus to enable fundamental questions on plant L-AA metabolism to be resolved. This review focuses on the role of L-AA in metabolism and the latest studies regarding its biosynthesis, tissue compartmentalisation, turnover and catabolism. These inter-relationships are considered in relation to the potential to improve the L-AA content of crops. Methodology for the reliable analysis of L-AA in plant foods is briefly reviewed. The concentrations found in common food sources and the effects of processing, or storage prior to consumption are discussed, Finally the factors that determine the bioavailability of L-AA and how it may be improved are considered, as well as the most important future research needs. (C) 2000 Society of Chemical Industry.

AB - Humans are unable to synthesise L-ascorbic acid (L-AA, ascorbate, vitamin C), and are thus entirely dependent upon dietary sources to meet needs. In both plant and animal metabolism, the biological functions of L-ascorbic acid are centred around the antioxidant properties of this molecule. Considerable evidence has been accruing in the last two decades of the importance of L-AA in protecting not only the plant from oxidative stress, but also mammals from various chronic diseases that have their origins in oxidative stress. Evidence suggests that the plasma levels of L-AA in large sections of the population are sub-optimal for the health protective effects of this vitamin. Until quite recently, little focus has been given to improving the L-AA content of plant foods, either in terms of the amounts present in commercial crop varieties, or in minimising losses prior to ingestion. Further, while L-AA biosynthesis in animals was elucidated in the 1960s,(l) it is only very recently that a distinct biosynthetic route for plants has been proposed,(2) The characterisation of this new pathway will undoubtedly provide the necessary focus and impetus to enable fundamental questions on plant L-AA metabolism to be resolved. This review focuses on the role of L-AA in metabolism and the latest studies regarding its biosynthesis, tissue compartmentalisation, turnover and catabolism. These inter-relationships are considered in relation to the potential to improve the L-AA content of crops. Methodology for the reliable analysis of L-AA in plant foods is briefly reviewed. The concentrations found in common food sources and the effects of processing, or storage prior to consumption are discussed, Finally the factors that determine the bioavailability of L-AA and how it may be improved are considered, as well as the most important future research needs. (C) 2000 Society of Chemical Industry.

M3 - Article

VL - 80

SP - 825

EP - 860

JO - Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture

T2 - Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture

JF - Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture

SN - 0022-5142

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Davey MW, Van Montagu M, Inze D, Sanmartin M, Kanellis A, Smirnoff N et al. Plant L-ascorbic acid: chemistry, function, metabolism, bioavailability and effects of processing. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. 2000 May;80(7):825-860.