Zinc: The Functional Significance of Marginal Deficiency

  • Brittmarie Sandström
Part of the ILSI Human Nutrition Reviews book series (ILSI HUMAN)


The major biochemical function of zinc is as a constituent of metalloenzymes. The first described was carbonic anhydrase in 1940, and since then more than 200 different zinc enzymes have been identified in plant and animal tissue. Alcohol dehydrogenase, superoxide dismutase, DNA-polymerase, RNA-polymerase, alkaline phosphatase and carboxypeptidase are all zinc-metalloenzymes and examples can be found in each of the six major categories of enzymes. This means that zinc is involved in more or less every biochemical process in the body. In some of these enzymes zinc is present at the active site e.g., acting as an electron acceptor, in others and in non-enzyme proteins the function of zinc is structural as S—S bridges or cross-links between thiolates and imidazoles.


Phytic Acid Zinc Absorption Zinc Deficiency Zinc Intake Plasma Zinc 
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© Springer-Verlag London Limited 1991

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  • Brittmarie Sandström

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