Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Science Of Strawberries

20.06.2003


Goran Ivanisevic’s offer to serve strawberries at this year’s Wimbledon may be a more useful job than he imagined. As well as delicious with cream, this symbol of the summer could help fight cancer according to scientists.



Research has shown that natural plant chemicals in strawberries can inhibit the growth of cancer cells. And now scientists at the Institute of Food Research have begun work to identify the compounds responsible.

“The modern strawberry is just one of hundreds of varieties cultivated worldwide. There are also about twenty wild species. They all have different properties - visible in the size, shape and colour of the fruit, or the size and abundance of flowers. The aim of our project is to identify the properties that play a role in inhibiting carcinogenesis”, says Professor Richard Mithen, Head of Plant Foods for Health Protection at IFR.


The wild ancestors of the most commonly cultivated strawberry today, Fragaria ananassa, can be white, yellow, taste like pineapples, or the stalks can even point the fruit towards the sun. The Institute of Food Research will study both wild and cultivated varieties, and is growing white and pale yellow strawberries as well as red.

In the future, the work could help the team to develop new varieties in which the anticarcinogenic compounds are enhanced.

One of the strawberry chemicals that may play a role against cancer is ellagic acid. Strawberries and raspberries are the main dietary source of ellagic acid in the west. Research by Dr Yannick Ford at Horticulture Research International [1] has highlighted the variation in ellagic acid content between varieties, with some white-fruited strawberries having particularly high levels.

Professor Mithen says, “The great thing about doing research on the health benefits of strawberries is that people enjoy eating them, as I’m sure we’ll see at Wimbledon next week!”

Other strawberry facts:
  • Professor Mithen’s research is part of a long term project, and one of many IFR projects analysing the health benefits of fruits and vegetables.

  • IFR scientists have also developed a rapid spectroscopy method for detecting adulteration of hand-pressed fresh strawberry and raspberry purees.

  • The modern strawberry, Fragaria ananassa, is a hybrid between Fragaria chiloenis from Chile and the North American Fragaria virginiana. The Chilean strawberry, transported to France in 1714, was mainly selected for its large size, while the North American for its hermaphroditism. Hermaphrodite flowers simplify crop production as they enable a crop to be cultivated from a single source.

  • The native British wild strawberry is a “diploid” – it has two sets of chromosomes, as in humans. The most commonly cultivated strawberry, Fragaria ananassa, is an octoploid with eight sets. This makes it a good candidate for demonstrating DNA extraction - with eight copies of each gene in the strawberry genome, strawberries are packed full of it.

  • The strawberry has a unique structure and is known as a “false” fruit. Unlike any other fruit, the seeds are the true fruits of the plant and are the black dots on the surface. The fleshy ‘berry’ to which they are attached is an enlarged, softened receptacle.

  • Both the strawberry and the raspberry belong to the rose family. The English word strawberry comes from the erratic straying habit of the plant, which it shares with many other members of the rose family such as the blackberry.

  • A variety developed in 1821 by English market gardener Michael Keens is the ancestor of virtually all modern varieties commercially cultivated today. Its size and flavour caused a sensation.

  • The Latin name fraga refers to the fruit’s fragrance.

Zoe Dunford | alfa
Further information:
http://www.ifr.ac.uk

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology
07.12.2016 | Nanyang Technological University

nachricht How to turn white fat brown
07.12.2016 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling

07.12.2016 | Life Sciences

How to turn white fat brown

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>