, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 365-372

Genetic engineering of peppermint for improved essential oil composition and yield

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Abstract

The biochemistry, organization, and regulation of essential oil metabolism in the epidermal oil glands of peppermint have been defined, and most of the genes encoding enzymes of the eight-step pathway to the principal monoterpene component (−)-menthol have been isolated. Using these tools for pathway engineering, two genes and two expression strategies have been employed to create transgenic peppermint plants with improved oil composition and yield. These experiments, along with related studies on other pathway genes, have led to a systematic, stepwise approach for the creation of a ‘super’ peppermint.