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Plant carbohydrate metabolism in itself has emerged as a distinct field in Biochemistry. The long personal experience of the editors in the area of plant carbohydrates led them to an idea of consolidating the whole available information on major plant crops in this field at a single place. This compilation will not only benefit the basic plant biochemists and physiologists but also the agricultural scientists in general. Such an information, in addition to understand the subtieties of synthesis and regulation of varied carbohydrate reserves in different plants, we hope will lead to a breeding ground for the evolution of new thoughts and researches in the area of crop productivity.
The first chapter of the book is a general topic on sucrose metabolism and its regulation and transport. The next two chapters deal with sucrose storing crops, sugarcane and sugar beet. In the subsequent four chapters the emphasis has been given on accumulation of starch in grains of important cereal crops like wheat, rice maize and barley. Starch synthesis and tuber filling in potato has been discussed as a separate chapter. A chapter has been devoted to the role of fructans accumulated in stem internodes to grain filling in wheat and barley. Jerusalem artichoke and chicory are two important crops that store inulin as reserve carbohydrate in their tuber/root. Both crops appear to have a significant application in food industry. A chapter on the enzymology of fructans in grasses was thought to be an appropriate addition in the book chapters. These days, new crops by genetic engineering are being evolved. A comprehensive chapter on starch synthesis in transgenic plants and incorporation of SacB gene in certain plants has been kept in this book. Various leguminous crops store galactomannan to a very high level in their seeds. Therefore latest information on galactomannan synthesis has been reported. In certain fruit crops polyols may serve an important reserve of carbon. Therefore, a chapter on sugar alcohol has been added. Trees contribute significantly to biomass production as fruit trees, forest trees specialised trees for getting wood etc. A general chapter on carbohydrates of trees was thought to be useful. An attempt has been made to include all major crops and main carbohydrate reserve polymers in this book. We hope this book will help to integrate the thoughts of basic plant biochemists and applied agricultural scientists in the interest of humanity.
We would in particular like to thank all the contributors for submitting chapters in time. Without their help and co-operation, this book would not have been possible.
Anil K Gupta Narinder Kaur
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