It seems only appropriate that this year’s James Allen Olson Memorial Perspectives on Carotenoids Lecture deals with carotenoid metabolites and their biological activity, since it is the 40th anniversary of the publication by Olson and Hayashi on “The Enzymatic Cleavage of β-carotene into Vitamin A by Soluble Enzymes of Rat Liver and Intestine” . In conjunction with the publication of Goodman and Huang in that same year , a scheme was proposed for the central cleavage of β-carotene into 2 moles of retinal (Figure 1), as first proposed by Karrer in 1930 . The enzyme was called 15,15’-β-carotene dioxygenase, but as was shown by the elegant work of oggon and associates, is actually a The biological activity of carotenoid metabolites* Norman I Krinsky, department of Biochemistry, School of Medicine and the Jean Mayer SDA-Human Nutrition Research Center on ging, Tufts University, Boston, MA 02111 18. Haskell MJ, Jamil KM, Hassan F, Peerson JM, Hossain MI, Fuchs GJ, Brown H (2004) Daily consumption of Indian spinach (Basella alba) or sweet potatoes has a positive effect on total-body vitamin A stores in Bangladeshi men.
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