To explore whether improvements in psychological well-being occur after increases in fruit and vegetable consumption.
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.
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.
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.
Dietary recommendations emphasize increased consumption of fruit, vegetables, and whole grain cereals for prevention of chronic disease.
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.
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.
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.
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.
BACKGROUND: Alternate bearing is a widespread phenomenon among crop plants, defined as the tendency of certain fruit trees to produce a high-yield crop one year (“on-year”), followed by a low-yield or even no crop the following year (“off-year”). Several factors may affect the balance between such developmental phase-transition processes. Among them are the microRNA (miRNA), being gene-expression regulators that have been found to be involved as key determinants in several physiological processes. RESULTS: Six olive (Olea europaea L. cv. Ayvalik variety) small RNA libraries were constructed from fruits (ripe and unripe) and leaves (“on year” and “off year” leaves in July and in November, respectively) and sequenced by high-throughput Illumina sequencing. The RNA was retrotranscribed and sequenced using the high-throughput Illumina platform. Bioinformatics analyses of 93,526,915 reads identified 135 conserved miRNA, belonging to 22 miRNA families in the olive. In addition, 38 putative novel miRNAs were discovered in the datasets. Expression of olive tree miRNAs varied greatly among the six libraries, indicating the contribution of diverse miRNA in balancing between reproductive and vegetative phases. Predicted targets of miRNA were categorized into 108 process ontology groups with significance abundance. Among those, potential alternate bearing-associated processes were found, such as development, hormone-mediated signaling and organ morphogenesis. The KEGG analyses revealed that the miRNA-targeted genes are involved in seven main pathways, belonging to carbohydrate metabolism and hormone signal-transduction pathways. CONCLUSION: A comprehensive study on olive miRNA related to alternate bearing was performed. Regulation of miRNA under different developmental phases and tissues indicated that control of nutrition and hormone, together with flowering processes had a noteworthy impact on the olive tree alternate bearing. Our results also provide significant data on the miRNA-fruit development interaction and advance perspectives in the miRNA profile of the olive tree.