Flavonoids are a major group of compounds that are produced by plants. In addition to their significant roles in the plant life cycle, flavonoids have important food properties, including contributions to flavor and anti-oxidant activity. The focus of this research is to advance our understanding of the manner in which specific flavonoids are produced in the grapefruit. Specifically, the structure and function of the enzymes (the glucosyltransferases) that add sugar groups to the flavonoids will be studied, and the roles that these enzymes play in the production of different classes of flavonoid will be defined.
Broader Impact: This project will provide training and educational opportunities at a predominantly undergraduate institution located in an economically disadvantaged region within Southern Appalachia. The modular nature of this research is well suited to the engagement of undergraduate and M.S. students in comprehensive research experiences that include designing and executing experiments, analyzing results, making presentations at scientific meetings, and preparing articles for publication. The PI will mentor undergraduate students about career opportunities, and will engage in outreach to middle school, high school and elementary school students and teachers through a variety of activities that include workshops, mentoring classes and individual student research activities.