Gene Involved in Determining the Cocoa Butter Melting Point Discovered

Posted: March 31, 2015

In plants, the conversion of stearoyl-ACP to oleoyol-ACP is catalyzed by a plastid-localized soluble stearoyl-acyl carrier protein (ACP) desaturase (SAD). The activity of SAD significantly impacts the ratio of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, and is thus a major determinant of fatty acid composition. The cacao genome contains eight putative SAD isoforms with high amino acid sequence similarities and functional domain conservation with SAD genes from other species. The identification of the major SAD gene responsible for cocoa butter biosynthesis provides new strategies for screening for novel genotypes with desirable fatty acid compositions, and for use in breeding programs to help pyramid genes for quality and other traits such as disease resistance.
Phylogenetic Tree of Cacao Fatty Acid Desaturase Genes

Phylogenetic Tree of Cacao Fatty Acid Desaturase Genes

Zhang Y, Maximova SN, Guiltinan MJ: Characterization of a stearoyl-acyl carrier protein desaturase gene family from chocolate tree, Theobroma cacao L. Frontiers in Plant Science 2015, 6(DOI 10.3389/fpls.2015.00239).