Plant unusual fatty acids: learning from the less common

Edgar B. Cahoon, Yonghua Li-Beisson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


The plant kingdom contains an abundance of structurally diverse fatty acids referred to as unusual fatty acids. Unusual fatty acids on plant surfaces can form polyesters that contribute to the function of cutin as a barrier for water loss and pathogen protection. Unusual fatty acids are also found as abundant components of seed oils of selected species and often confer desirable properties for industrial and nutritional applications. Here, we review recent findings on the biosynthesis and metabolism of unusual fatty acids in cutin and seed oils and use of this information for enzyme structure-function studies and seed oil metabolic engineering. We also highlight the recent discovery of unusual fatty acids that are formed from a previously undescribed variation of fatty acid elongation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-73
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Plant Biology
StatePublished - Jun 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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