Carthamin is a red pigment that stems from the yellow-orange corollas of safflower. Its utilization as a red colorant can be traced back again to historic Egypt. In Japan it is named “beni” and has been utilised for dyeing textiles, coloring cosmetics and meals, and as an natural medicine for above 1400 many years.
Carthamin’s chemical construction has lengthy eluded experts, but a collaborative team of researchers has discovered the genes that are demanded for the biosynthesis of carthamin.
The information of their study ended up released in the journal Plant and Mobile Physiology on August three, 2021.
Even though the background of carthamin goes back again millennia, experts started exploring its chemical structures in the late nineteenth and early 20th centuries. Tohoku University graduate Dr. Chika Kuroda, who broke down obstacles when she became just one of the to start with feminine learners to enroll at a Japanese Imperial University in 1913, had investigated the structural reports of the pigment. Yet, it was not until finally 2019 that experts confirmed carthamin’s stereo construction.
Dr. Toshiyuki Waki and other associates of the Office of Biomolecular Engineering at Tohoku University’s Graduate College for Engineering teamed up with TOYO INK SC HOLDINGS Co., Ltd., TOYOCHEM Co., Ltd., and Dr. Yuichi Aoki at Tohoku University Tohoku Professional medical Megabank Business.
Collectively, they discovered the genes for an enzyme that provides about the remaining enzymatic stage of carthamin biosynthesis, contacting it “carthamin synthase.”
Carthamin synthase catalyzes carthamin creation from its precursor precarthamin. Simply because precarthamin is yellow, carthamin synthase is the important enzyme dependable for the red pigmentation of safflower corolla.
Carthamin synthase is a cousin of peroxidase, an enzyme located in crops this kind of as turnips and radishes. But as opposed to peroxidase, it utilizes molecular oxygen as an alternative of hydrogen peroxide as a hydrogen acceptor when forming carthamin.
Toru Nakayama, who co-authored the review, states that their discovery will help pave the way for producing carthamin without having possessing to rely on the extraction of safflower corollas. “In the long run, we could be equipped to make this valuable compound microbially in substantial quantities working with metabolic engineering,” explained Nakayama.
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