Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Vegetables, Like People, Urged to Live Up to Potential

10.10.2006
Carrots may be underachievers. Healthy and good for one's eyes, yes, but they could be so much more, researchers say.

A major stress in a carrot's life – like the slash of a kitchen knife – and the tapered tuber kicks in the juice and pumps up its phytochemicals.

That's the finding of Dr. Luis Cisneros, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station food scientist. He calls it abiotic stress – pushing the button, so to speak, on a crop after it has been harvested.

"What happens is that on many occasions, plants do not express their real potential. They can actually express more if they are challenged to a point," he said.

"It's something similar to what would happen with people. You stress people, and people tend to respond more to the challenges in front of them," he added. "In this case, when you stress plants, you actually trigger this genetic response, and the plant will synthesize chemical compounds. You end up with a carrot that is healthier than the original carrot in a short period of time with a very cheap and easy stressor."

A key to his research was understanding the plant's pathway to a specific, desired compound and getting it to increase only that one. So far, his lab has successfully increased the amount of antioxidant activity in carrots up to five times.

The finding is important for food processors, Cisneros said, because as companies increasingly seek ways to add healthier components to foods, the technique could yield more of those desired substances.

One kilogram of anthocyanin extract is valued at $1,000 in the marketplace, Cisneros said. Anthocyanin is the red pigment in vegetables which is associated with a reduced risk of cancer and heart disease.

"So, if you stress (carrots) and they accumulate more anthocyanin, that means more money," he said. "Now imagine using that carrot to make a juice or making an extract of it that could be added to bread or some other product. You end up with an array of different products that you can benefit from."

Growers also stand to gain, he said. In traditional vegetable marketing, the only way for a producer to make more money is to harvest higher yields.

"But with this process, a grower could market not for the yield in tonnage, but for the percent of phytochemicals," he explained.

Other current research on producing phytochemicals in foods focuses on breeding fruits and vegetables to have increased amounts of the compounds, Cisneros noted. While that is beneficial, the ability to quadruple the phytochemical with a simple, post-harvest technique would add even more value.

In his lab, the "wounded," or cut, carrots were placed under an ultraviolet light for a few seconds. Analysis a couple of days after that simple treatment showed a "huge increase" in antioxidants, he said.

"Abiotic stress has been known for decades," he said. "But our work is new because we targeted something specific to accumulate what we wanted. We used stress to manipulate."

The finding opens the door for more research, he said.

"We are trying to see if these responses can be duplicated in other types of plants – different types of fruits and vegetables," he said. "We want to see the signal molecule that is promoting these types of responses to maybe improve the way we are applying these stresses."

Kathleen Phillips | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.tamu.edu

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht How much drought can a forest take?
20.01.2017 | University of California - Davis

nachricht Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
02.12.2016 | Purdue University

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>