Glucosinolates: Structure, classification, biosynthesis and functions in higher plants


Fresia Pacheco-Sangerman
Fernando C. Gómez-Merino
María Guadalupe Peralta-Sánchez
Gabriel Alcántar-González
Libia Iris Trejo-Téllez


secondary metabolites, sulfur, defense compounds, Brassicaceae.


Objective: To analyze concepts, structure, classification, biosynthesis and functions of glucosinolates (GSLs)
in higher plants.
Design/methodology/approach: A search was performed into recent high-impact literature related to
glucosinolates (GSLs).
Results: GSLs are secondary metabolites rich in N and S. They are divided into aliphatic, aromatic, and
indole GSLs depending on the amino acid from which they arise. The products of their hydrolysis, mediated by
thioglucoside glucohydrolase, thioglucosidase or myrosinase enzymes (EC, play a role in increasing
tolerance to biotic and abiotic stress factors. Furthermore, given their composition, they can serve as a nutrient
reservoir under nutrient deficiency conditions.
Limitations on study/implications: GSLs are synthesized only in species of the Capparidaceae, Brassicaceae,
Resedaceae, and Moringaceae families.
Findings/conclusions: GSLs are sulfur compounds that can serve as defense mechanisms against biotic
and abiotic stress factors and as sources of nutrients in plants, and molecules with important nutraceutical
properties in food and human health.

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