Tailor-made fructan synthesis in plants: A review

Arkel, J. van; Sévenier, R.; Hakkert, J.C.; Bouwmeester, H.J.; Koops, A.J.; Meer, I.M. van der


Fructan, a fructose polymer, is produced by many bacteria and plants. Fructan is used as carbohydrate reserve, and in bacteria also as protective outside layer. Chicory is a commercial fructan producing crop. The disadvantage of this crop is its fructan breakdown before harvest. Studies using genetically modification showed that fructan biosynthesis is difficult to steer in chicory. Alternatives for production of tailor-made fructan, fructan with a desired polymer length and linkage type, are originally non-fructan-accumulating plants expressing introduced fructosyltransferase genes. The usage of bacterial fructosyltransferases hindered plant performance, whereas plant-derived fructan genes can successfully be used for this purpose. The polymer length distribution and the yield are dependent on the origin of the fructan genes and the availability of sucrose in the host. Limitations seen in chicory for the production of tailor-made fructan are lacking in putative new platform crops like sugar beet and sugarcane and rice