Harvested fruit ‘still responds’
Picked fruits and vegetables continue to respond to light as if they were still growing, scientists have shown.
The discovery has implications for grocery storage and its effect on the health benefits of plant foods.
Lead researcher Professor Janet Braam, from Rice University in Texas, US, said: “Vegetables and fruits, even after harvest, can respond to light signals and consequently change their biology in ways that may affect health value and insect resistance.
“Perhaps we should be storing our vegetables and fruits under light-dark cycles and timing when to cook and eat them to enhance their health value.”
Plants respond to changing light conditions by altering levels of chemicals that protect them against insects.
Some of these phytochemicals, evolved to make plants distasteful to herbivores, are believed to have anti-cancer properties.
Prof Braam’s team found that even after being harvested, vegetables and fruits remained sensitive to light and kept their biological clocks ticking.
The researchers, whose findings are published in the journal Current Biology, first made the discovery in cabbages.
They then went on to show similar responses in lettuce, spinach, courgettes, sweet potatoes, carrots and blueberries.
Picked items subjected to light and dark at the right times suffered less damage when exposed to caterpillars of a plant-eating moth.
“It may be of interest to harvest crops and freeze or otherwise preserve them at specific times of day, when nutrients and valuable phytochemicals are at their peak,” Prof Braam said.
Latest posts by Sally - Silversurfer's Editor (see all)
Leave a Comment!
Community Terms & Conditions
These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.
You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.
be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.
Contributions must not:
contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.
Nurturing a safe environment
Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.
We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!