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Vegetables, like people, urged to live up to potential

ther product. You end up with an array of different products that you can benefit from."

Growers also stand to gain, he said. In traditional vegetable marketing, the only way for a producer to make more money is to harvest higher yields.

"But with this process, a grower could market not for the yield in tonnage, but for the percent of phytochemicals," he explained.

Other current research on producing phytochemicals in foods focuses on breeding fruits and vegetables to have increased amounts of the compounds, Cisneros noted. While that is beneficial, the ability to quadruple the phytochemical with a simple, post-harvest technique would add even more value.

In his lab, the "wounded," or cut, carrots were placed under an ultraviolet light for a few seconds. Analysis a couple of days after that simple treatment showed a "huge increase" in antioxidants, he said.

"Abiotic stress has been known for decades," he said. "But our work is new because we targeted something specific to accumulate what we wanted. We used stress to manipulate."

The finding opens the door for more research, he said.

"We are trying to see if these responses can be duplicated in other types of plants different types of fruits and vegetables," he said. "We want to see the signal molecule that is promoting these types of responses to maybe improve the way we are applying these stresses."


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Contact: Kathleen Phillips
ka-phillips@tamu.edu
979-845-2872
Texas A&M University - Agricultural Communications
6-Oct-2006


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