Exploring the diversity and synthesis of Iridoid compounds in Blueberry
Blueberries are prized for both their sweet flavor and known human health benefits, such as high antioxidant content. In addition, blueberries contain iridoid compounds. This class of pharmacologically important class of compounds is found in over 15 plant families and has a wealth of human health benefits, including anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
While much work has been done to understand the synthesis of iridoids in other plants, especially the Madagascar Periwinkle, little work has been on exploring these diverse compounds in blueberry. Previous work done in the Leisner lab has successfully identified the iridoid compound monotropein in commercial blueberry. Current work is being done to understand how monotropein is synthesized in blueberry and why some cultivars produce monotropein, while others do not. Additionally, the Leisner lab is interested in understanding how future changes in growing climate will impact the production of monotropein and other specialized metabolites in blueberry.