Plant Biochemistry

Hans-Walter Heldt

Elsevier 2005
A book review by Danny Yee © 2006
The detail in Plant Biochemistry is sometimes a bit overwhelming, but most of it is strongly motivated by links to broader cellular and plant biology, and to crop science and agriculture. It assumes a familiarity with basic biochemistry and cell biology, but does recapitulate some general background where it is critical.

An outline of the basic structure of a leaf cell is followed by chapters on the capture of light energy, electron transport in the core photosystems, photosynthetic ATP generation, mitochondrial energy, the Calvin cycle, photorespiration, and water consumption. Heldt then covers the storage of carbohydrates, nitrate assimilation and nitrogen fixation, sulfate assimilation, phloem transport, and storage proteins.

There are chapters on glycerolipids, "secondary metabolites", isoprenoids, and phenylpropanoids. And four final chapters cover growth and development signals, the three different plant genomes, protein synthesis and distribution, and gene technology and methods for creating transgenic plants.

There's the occasional language awkwardness and the odd diagram label has been left in German, but these are minor blemishes on an otherwise high quality presentation. Plant Biochemistry is clearly written and illustrated — it makes excellent use of figures — and offers an excellent resource for botanists, crop scientists, or anyone else wanting to understand plant metabolism.

April 2006

External links:
- buy from or
Related reviews:
- books about plants + botany
- books about chemistry
%T Plant Biochemistry
%A Heldt, Hans-Walter
%I Elsevier
%D 2005
%O hardcover, 3rd edition, index
%G ISBN 0120883910
%P 630pp