This has been shown in research by Elio Schijlen at Plant Research Internationa, part of Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands. Schijlen demonstrated that this approach enables tomatoes to produce larger amounts of specific flavonoids and to let tomatoes produce flavonoids they cannot produce by nature. On the basis of the research Schijlen obtained HIS his PhD-degree on Thursday 8 February at the University of Amsterdam.
The results of this research show that genetic modification is a possible approach to further increase the health promoting value of vegetables and fruit. Flavonoids are frequently occurring and important metabolites in plants. About 6000 different flavonoids are known to be involved in various natural processes. The colour of flowers and ripe fruits, e.g., are often caused by flavonoids. But flavonoids also play an important role in other plant processes such as pollen production, disease resistance, and protection against UV radiation.
Because flavonoids are so frequently occurring in plants, they are a permanent component of our food. Part of the health promoting effects of vegetables and fruit is attributed to flavonoids. It may therefore be attractive to increase the amount of flavonoids and/or change their composition.
This was why Schijlen, working at Plant Research International of Wageningen UR, studied the possibilities of steering the production of flavonoids by a directed change of the biosynthesis route via genetic modification. He followed various approaches to achieve this. One approach was to investigate the possibility of increasing the amount of flavonoids in tomato by means of so-called transcription factors, proteins involved in regulating gene activity.
Schijlen also investigated the possibility to produce new flavonoids in tomatoes which might increase the health promoting properties of tomatoes. For this purpose he used genes form other crops such as grape and alfalfa, genes that are involved in certain steps in the biosynthesis of flavonoids in these crops.
Both approaches were found to be successful. Through genetic modification Schijlen succeeded in developing tomatoes not only with more flavonoids but also with new flavonoids.
Via biochemical analysis Schijlen demonstrated an increased antioxidant action of tomatoes with flavones and more flavonoles, two specific groups of flavonoids. In cooperation with scientists of BASF Plant Science and TNO, the potential health promoting effects of these tomatoes were tested in feeding studies with mice. Blood analyses showed that that the tomatoes with increased flavonoids had a stronger positive effect on blood properties that are characteristic of a reduced risk of cardiovascular disorders.
With his results, Schijlen has shown that genetic modification can further increase the health promoting effects of vegetables and fruit.
Jac Niessen | alfa
How much drought can a forest take?
20.01.2017 | University of California - Davis
Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
02.12.2016 | Purdue University
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...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
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...
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...
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...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences