In the present paper, we review the toxicity of sugar- and lipid-derived RCs (reactive carbonyls) and the RC-scavenging systems observed in photosynthetic organisms. Similar to heterotrophs, photosynthetic organisms are exposed to the danger of RCs produced in sugar metabolism during both respiration and photosynthesis. RCs such as methylglyoxal and acrolein have toxic effects on the photosynthetic activity of higher plants and cyanobacteria. These toxic effects are assumed to occur uniquely in photosynthetic organisms, suggesting that RC-scavenging systems are essential for their survival. The aldo–keto reductase and the glyoxalase systems mainly scavenge sugar-derived RCs in higher plants and cyanobacteria. 2-Alkenal reductase and alkenal/alkenone reductase catalyse the reduction of lipid-derived RCs in higher plants. In cyanobacteria, medium-chain dehydrogenases/reductases are the main scavengers of lipid-derived RCs.

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