Marigold regulation of carotenoid biosynthesis

Tagetes erecta (Marigold or ‘Afrikaantje’ in Dutch) produces high levels of carotenoids. To exploit the health benefits of carotenoids (Lutein, Blue light filters for high screen time, etc.), breeding has generated elite lines that produce high lutein, zeaxanthin, etc. We want to start using a GMO approach to improve the carotenoid profile of Marigold. In addition, we want to create Astaxanthin containing flowers. Astaxanthin is a compound with many health benefits, that normally only occurs in red algae (Mann et al., 2000).

Possible projects are:

  • Manipulate biosynthesis pathway in Marigold to change composition of carotenoids. Change colour or health benefits (Vitamin A).
  • Golden Marigold. Introduce the golden rice construct to see the effects on marigold flowers.
  • Study regulatory network of carotenoid biosynthesis. Investigate transcription factors that regulate colour, and study the effect of their manipulation on secondary metabolism (colour, scent, health related compounds).
  • Study petal specific promoters to target metabolic manipulation to flowers only

Used skills

Postharvest Phys. Techniques:

  • Tissue culture: Plant transformation: Stable, transient, protoplast transformation
  • Molecular biology: DNA, RNA, RT-(q)PCR, Cloning
  • Metabolite analysis: HPLC, GC-MS
  • Enzyme assays
  • Cell biology: subcellular localization of compounds (carotenoids loc. in the chromoplasts)
  • Bioinformatics

Interested in doing a BSc or MSc thesis at HPP? Please contact the HPP student coordinator Katharina Hanika.