The ever increasing consumer demand for "naturalness" of foodstuffs and cosmetics along with the enormous potential of plants in biosynthesis and bioconversion represents an attractive basis for plant aroma biotechnology. The potential market for biotechnology-derived flavors and fragrances is estimated to be 10% or more of the overall flavor market, which was expected to amount to $10 billion in 2000, tendency ascending (1). Indeed, up to now, the lion's share thereof accounts for microbially catalyzed processes (74). Contrary to the successful generation of high-value pharmaceuticals, plant cell cultures still need to be shown to be competitive with field plants or microorganisms in the production of flavor compounds on an industrial scale. To reach this aim, the productivity of the cell culture systems will need to be improved significantly. Most promising starting points are given by recombinant DNA technologies (75). The genetic information responsible for fruit and herbal flavor formation can be isolated, characterized, and afterward either transferred into a suitable microbial expression system or used specifically to modify food plants. A steadily increasing number of publications and patent applications on plant genes and transgenic plants indicates rapid scientific progress as well as industrial interest. After all, the short- and middle-term success of these technologies will, beyond technological and economic considerations, depend crucially on the acceptance of the novel products by the consumer. Extensive evaluation and communication of scientific facts will be indispensable to deal with widespread concerns before achievements in basic science will turn into marketable flavors and flavor-enriched products.
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