Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Plums poised to give blueberries run for the money

30.01.2009
There’s an emerging star in the super-food world.

Plums are rolling down the food fashion runway sporting newly discovered high levels of healthy nutrients, say scientists at Texas AgriLife Research.

Plainly, “blueberries have some stiff competition,” said Dr. Luis Cisneros, AgriLife Research food scientist."Stone fruits are super fruits with plums as emerging stars."

Far from fruit snobbery, the plum is being ushered in after Cisneros and Dr. David Byrne, AgriLife Research plant breeder, judged more than 100 varieties of plums, peaches and nectarines and found them to match or exceed the much-touted blueberries in antioxidants and phytonutrients associated with disease prevention.

The duo acknowledge that blueberries remain a good nutritional choice. But Byrne said their findings are plum good news, especially in tight economic times, because one relatively inexpensive plum contains about the same amount of antioxidants as a handful of more expensive blueberries.

“People tend to eat just a few blueberries at a time – a few on the cereal or as an ingredient mixed with lots of sugar,” Cisneros said. “But people will eat a whole plum at once and get the full benefit.”

Discovery of the plum’s benefits – along with that of fellow stone fruits, the peach and the nectarine – came after the researchers measured at least five brands of blueberries on the market. Against those numbers, the team measured the content of more than 100 different types of plums, nectarines and peaches.

The first comparison was for antioxidants, molecules that sweep through a body looking for free radicals to knock out. Free radicals are atoms or molecules that lurk where diseases like cancer and heart disease are found.

"If the radicals aren’t taken care of,” Cisneros said, “they will cause the problems that lead to disease.”

But the scientists didn’t stop at knowing that plums and peaches were flexing their antioxidant muscles.

“Knowing that we had all these varieties with high levels of antioxidants, then the possibility of preventing these diseases would also be high with their consumption, so we went to the next step – how these compounds could actually inhibit chronic diseases,” Cisneros said.

The team examined the full content of plums and peaches, then tested the effect of the compounds they found on breast cancer cells and cholesterol in the lab.

“We screened the varieties again with the biological assays,” Cisneros said. “And that had never been done before, because it is expensive and a lot of work. But that investment is small in terms of the information we got, and how it can be used now for breeding efforts to produce even better fruit.”

Byrne noted, for example, that one benefit the team found was that the phytonutrients in plums inhibited in vitro breast cancer growth without adversely affecting normal cell growth.

He said this type of research needs further study but is an indication that breeders ultimately will be able to produce new crop varieties with the best ratio of various phytochemicals to have an impact on disease prevention and inhibition. And these fruits will be available as fresh produce as well as in extracts for dietary supplements.

"Future work with stone fruits will focus on cardiovascular and cancer using animal models and identification of specific compounds that exert the properties," Cisneros added.

Bottom line from the researchers: “We suggest that consumers take seriously the recommendation to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables – or even more – every day and to make sure that plums are part of that,” Byrne said.

Funding comes from the Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center at Texas A&M University and the California Tree Fruit Agreement.

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

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Advance warning system via cell phone app: Avoiding extreme weather damage in agriculture
12.07.2018 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Agrarlandschaftsforschung (ZALF) e.V.

nachricht Fishy chemicals in farmed salmon
11.07.2018 | University of Pittsburgh

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: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Research finds new molecular structures in boron-based nanoclusters

13.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

Algae Have Land Genes

13.07.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>