Ascorbate as a biosynthetic precursor in plants

Seth Debolt, Vanessa Melino, Christopher M. Ford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Scopus citations


• Background and Aims: l-Ascorbate (vitamin C) has well-documented roles in many aspects of redox control and anti-oxidant activity in plant cells. This Botanical Briefing highlights recent developments in another aspect of l-ascorbate metabolism: its function as a precursor for specific processes in the biosynthesis of organic acids. • Scope: The Briefing provides a summary of recent advances in our understanding of l-ascorbate metabolism, covering biosynthesis, translocation and functional aspects. The role of l-ascorbate as a biosynthetic precursor in the formation of oxalic acid, l-threonic acid and l-tartaric acid is described, and progress in elaborating the mechanisms of the formation of these acids is reviewed. The potential conflict between the two roles of l-ascorbate in plant cells, functional and biosynthetic, is highlighted. • Conclusions: Recent advances in the understanding of l-ascorbate catabolism and the formation of oxalic and l-tartaric acids provide compelling evidence for a major role of l-ascorbate in plant metabolism. Combined experimental approaches, using classic biochemical and emerging 'omics' technologies, have provided recent insight to previously under-investigated areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-8
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Botany
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007


  • Ascorbate
  • Grapes
  • Metabolism
  • Oxalate
  • Tartrate
  • Vitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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