The Steryl Esters of Higher Plants
The fatty acid esters of cholesterol are widely distributed in animal tissues and they have been subjected to in depth biochemical studies because of their importance as constituents of plasma lipoproteins and their association with pathological conditions such as atherosclerosis. Steryl esters are also well established as constituents of various tissues from many plants. However, the biochemistry of the steryl esters in plants has been the subject of rather few studies when compared to the attention received by animal steryl esters. The information available on plant steryl ester biochemistry is thus somewhat fragementary2 and although there has been speculation about the precise roles of these compounds in plants they cannot yet be defined. The steryl esters from many plant oils contain a mixture of the sterols typical of the plant and there is often a range of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids.2–4 However, the proportions of different sterols may vary between the free and esterified forms indicating a degree of selectivity in the esterification process.
KeywordsCholesteryl Ester Cocoa Butter Fatty Acid Ester Free Sterol Steryl Ester
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