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 Unique brain 'fingerprint' can predict drug effectiveness
11.07.2018 | McGill University

nachricht Direct conversion of non-neuronal cells into nerve cells
03.07.2018 | Universitätsmedizin der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

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: 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

Behavior-influencing policies are critical for mass market success of low carbon vehicles

17.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Plant mothers talk to their embryos via the hormone auxin

17.07.2018 | Life Sciences

Subaru Telescope helps pinpoint origin of ultra-high energy neutrino

16.07.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>