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Concept: Fruit


To explore whether improvements in psychological well-being occur after increases in fruit and vegetable consumption.

Concepts: Pea, Fruit, Tomato, Vegetable, Eggplant, Vegetarian cuisine, Cucumber


This study was conducted with the objective of testing the hypothesis that tomato fruits from organic farming accumulate more nutritional compounds, such as phenolics and vitamin C as a consequence of the stressing conditions associated with farming system. Growth was reduced in fruits from organic farming while titratable acidity, the soluble solids content and the concentrations in vitamin C were respectively +29%, +57% and +55% higher at the stage of commercial maturity. At that time, the total phenolic content was +139% higher than in the fruits from conventional farming which seems consistent with the more than two times higher activity of phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL) we observed throughout fruit development in fruits from organic farming. Cell membrane lipid peroxidation (LPO) degree was 60% higher in organic tomatoes. SOD activity was also dramatically higher in the fruits from organic farming. Taken together, our observations suggest that tomato fruits from organic farming experienced stressing conditions that resulted in oxidative stress and the accumulation of higher concentrations of soluble solids as sugars and other compounds contributing to fruit nutritional quality such as vitamin C and phenolic compounds.

Concepts: Protein, Agriculture, Antioxidant, Vitamin C, Fruit, Tomato, Vegetable, Organic farming


BACKGROUND: Both competitive and facilitative interactions between species play a fundamental role in shaping natural communities. A recent study showed that competitive interactions between plants can be mediated by some alternative signalling channel, extending beyond those channels studied so far (i.e. chemicals, contact and light). Here, we tested whether such alternative pathway also enables facilitative interactions between neighbouring plant species. Specifically, we examined whether the presence of a ‘good’ neighbouring plant like basil positively influenced the germination of chilli seeds when all known signals were blocked. For this purpose, we used a custom-designed experimental set-up that prevented above- and below-ground contact and blocked chemical and light-mediated signals normally exchange by plants. RESULTS: We found that seed germination was positively enhanced by the presence of a ‘good’ neighbour, even when the known signalling modalities were blocked, indicating that light, touch or chemical signals may not be indispensible for different plant species to sense each other’s presence. CONCLUSIONS: We propose that this alternative signalling modality operates as a general indicator of the presence of heterospecifics, enabling seeds to detect and identify a neighbour prior to engaging in a more finely-tuned, but potentially more costly, response.

Concepts: Embryo, Plant, Fruit, Seed, Plant morphology, Germination, Seedling, Love Thy Neighbour


This study presents a novel way of enhancing plant growth through the use of a non-petroleum based product. We report here that exposing either roots or seeds of multicellular plants to extremely low concentrations of dissolved hydrogen sulfide at any stage of life causes statistically significant increases in biomass including higher fruit yield. Individual cells in treated plants were smaller (∼13%) than those of controls. Germination success and seedling size increased in, bean, corn, wheat, and pea seeds while time to germination decreases. These findings indicated an important role of H2S as a signaling molecule that can increase the growth rate of all species yet tested. The increased crop yields reported here has the potential to effect the world’s agricultural output.

Concepts: Plant, Pea, Fruit, Seed, Legume, Plant morphology, Germination, Yield


Dietary recommendations emphasize increased consumption of fruit, vegetables, and whole grain cereals for prevention of chronic disease.

Concepts: Medicine, Cereal, Fruit, Maize, Vegetarian cuisine, Barley, Cereals, Cereal germ


The daylily (Hemerocallis fulva) and nightlily (H. citrina) are typical examples of a butterfly-pollination system and a hawkmoth-pollination system, respectively. H. fulva has diurnal, reddish or orange-colored flowers and is mainly pollinated by diurnal swallowtail butterflies. H. citrina has nocturnal, yellowish flowers with a sweet fragrance and is pollinated by nocturnal hawkmoths. We evaluated the relative roles of flower color and scent on the evolutionary shift from a diurnally flowering ancestor to H. citrina. We conducted a series of experiments that mimic situations in which mutants differing in either flower color, floral scent or both appeared in a diurnally flowering population. An experimental array of 6 × 6 potted plants, mixed with 24 plants of H. fulva and 12 plants of either F1 or F2 hybrids, were placed in the field, and visitations of swallowtail butterflies and nocturnal hawkmoths were recorded with camcorders. Swallowtail butterflies preferentially visited reddish or orange-colored flowers and hawkmoths preferentially visited yellowish flowers. Neither swallowtail butterflies nor nocturnal hawkmoths showed significant preferences for overall scent emission. Our results suggest that mutations in flower color would be more relevant to the adaptive shift from a diurnally flowering ancestor to H. citrina than that in floral scent.

Concepts: Fruit, Pollination, Flower, Pollinator decline, Pollination syndrome, Pollen, Flowers, Stamen


Antimicrobial peptides are a potent group of defense active molecules that have been utilized in developing resistance against a multitude of plant pathogens. Floral defensins constitute a group of cysteine-rich peptides showing potent growth inhibition of pathogenic filamentous fungi especially Fusarium oxysporum in vitro. Full length genes coding for two Petunia floral defensins, PhDef1 and PhDef2 having unique C-terminal 31 and 27 amino acid long predicted prodomains, were overexpressed in transgenic banana plants using embryogenic cells as explants for Agrobacterium-mediated genetic transformation. High level constitutive expression of these defensins in elite banana cv. Rasthali led to significant resistance against infection of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense as shown by in vitro and ex vivo bioassay studies. Transgenic banana lines expressing either of the two defensins were clearly less chlorotic and had significantly less infestation and discoloration in the vital corm region of the plant as compared to untransformed controls. Transgenic banana plants expressing high level of full-length PhDef1 and PhDef2 were phenotypically normal and no stunting was observed. In conclusion, our results suggest that high-level constitutive expression of floral defensins having distinctive prodomains is an efficient strategy for development of fungal resistance in economically important fruit crops like banana.

Concepts: Gene, Bacteria, Amino acid, Fungus, Fusarium oxysporum, Fruit, Plant pathogens and diseases, Banana


BACKGROUND: This study evaluated, using in vitro assays, the antibacterial, antioxidant, and tyrosinase-inhibition activities of methanolic extracts from peels of seven commercially grown pomegranate cultivars. METHODS: Antibacterial activity was tested on Gram-positive (Bacillus subtilis and Staphylococcus aureus) and Gram-negative bacteria (Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumonia) using a microdilution method. Several potential antioxidant activities, including radical-scavenging ability (RSA), ferrous ion chelating (FIC) and ferric ion reducing antioxidant power (FRAP), were evaluated. Tyrosinase enzyme inhibition was investigated against monophenolase (tyrosine) and diphenolase (DOPA), with arbutin and kojic acid as positive controls. Furthermore, phenolic contents including total flavonoid content (TFC), gallotannin content (GTC) and total anthocyanin content (TAC) were determined using colourimetric methods. HPLC-ESI/MSn analysis of phenolic composition of methanolic extracts was also performed. RESULTS: Methanolic peel extracts showed strong broad-spectrum activity against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, with the minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) ranging from 0.2 to 0.78 mg/ml. At the highest concentration tested (1000 mug/ml), radical scavenging activities were significantly higher in Arakta (83.54%), Ganesh (83.56%), and Ruby (83.34%) cultivars (P< 0.05). Dose dependent FIC and FRAP activities were exhibited by all the peel extracts. All extracts also exhibited high inhibition (>50%) against monophenolase and diphenolase activities at the highest screening concentration. The most active peel extract was the Bhagwa cultivar against monophenolase and the Arakta cultivar against diphenolase with IC50 values of 3.66 mug/ml and 15.88 mug/ml, respectively. High amounts of phenolic compounds were found in peel extracts with the highest and lowest total phenolic contents of 295.5 (Ganesh) and 179.3 mg/g dry extract (Molla de Elche), respectively. Catechin, epicatechin, ellagic acid and gallic acid were found in all cultivars, of which ellagic acid was the most abundant comprising of more than 50% of total phenolic compounds detected in each cultivar. CONCLUSIONS: The present study showed that the tested pomegranate peels exhibited strong antibacterial, antioxidant and tyrosinase-inhibition activities. These results suggest that pomegranate fruit peel could be exploited as a potential source of natural antimicrobial and antioxidant agents as well as tyrosinase inhibitors.

Concepts: Bacteria, Microbiology, Escherichia coli, Fruit, Tannin, Gram-negative bacteria, Pomegranate, Ferric


Citrus has an extended juvenile phase and trees can take 2-20 years to transition to the adult reproductive phase and produce fruit. For citrus variety development this substantially prolongs the time before adult traits, such as fruit yield and quality, can be evaluated. Methods to transform tissue from mature citrus trees would shorten the evaluation period via the direct production of adult phase transgenic citrus trees.

Concepts: Citrus, Fruit, Orange, Grapefruit, Citron, Rutaceae, Zest, Pomelo


Banana finger drop is defined as dislodgement of individual fruits from the hand at the pedicel rupture area. For some banana varieties, this is a major feature of the ripening process, in addition to ethylene production and sugar metabolism. The few studies devoted to assessing the physiological and molecular basis of this process revealed (i) the similarity between this process and softening, (ii) the early onset of related molecular events, between the first and fourth day after ripening induction, and (iii) the putative involvement of ethylene as a regulatory factor. This study was conducted with the aim of identifying, through a candidate gene approach, a quality-related marker that could be used as a tool in breeding programmes. Here we examined the relationship between ripening ethylene biosynthesis (EB) and finger drop in order to gain further insight into the upstream regulatory steps of the banana finger drop process and to identify putative related candidate genes.

Concepts: DNA, Amino acid, Molecular biology, Biology, Fruit, Ethylene, Ripening, Banana