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.
This study tested the psychological benefits of a 14-day preregistered clinical intervention to increase fruit and vegetable (FV) consumption in 171 low-FV-consuming young adults (67% female, aged 18-25). Participants were randomly assigned into a diet-as-usual control condition, an ecological momentary intervention (EMI) condition involving text message reminders to increase their FV consumption plus a voucher to purchase FV, or a fruit and vegetable intervention (FVI) condition in which participants were given two additional daily servings of fresh FV to consume on top of their normal diet. Self-report outcome measures were depressive symptoms and anxiety measured pre- and post-intervention, and daily negative and positive mood, vitality, flourishing, and flourishing behaviors (curiosity, creativity, motivation) assessed nightly using a smartphone survey. Vitamin C and carotenoids were measured from blood samples pre- and post-intervention, and psychological expectancies about the benefits of FV were measured post-intervention to test as mediators of psychological change. Only participants in the FVI condition showed improvements to their psychological well-being with increases in vitality, flourishing, and motivation across the 14-days relative to the other groups. No changes were found for depressive symptoms, anxiety, or mood. Intervention benefits were not mediated by vitamin C, carotenoids, or psychological expectancies. We conclude that providing young adults with high-quality FV, rather than reminding them to eat more FV (with a voucher to purchase FV), resulted in significant short-term improvements to their psychological well-being. These results provide initial proof-of-concept that giving young adults fresh fruit and vegetables to eat can have psychological benefits even over a brief period of time.
Modulation of the malate content of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) fruit by altering the expression of mitochondrially localized enzymes of the tricarboxylic acid cycle resulted in enhanced transitory starch accumulation and subsequent effects on postharvest fruit physiology. In this study, we assessed whether such a manipulation would similarly affect starch biosynthesis in an organ that displays a linear, as opposed to a transient, kinetic of starch accumulation. For this purpose, we used RNA interference to down-regulate the expression of fumarase in potato (Solanum tuberosum) under the control of the tuber-specific B33 promoter. Despite displaying similar reductions in both fumarase activity and malate content as observed in tomato fruit expressing the same construct, the resultant transformants were neither characterized by an increased flux to, or accumulation of, starch, nor by alteration in yield parameters. Since the effect in tomato was mechanistically linked to derepression of the reaction catalyzed by ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase, we evaluated whether the lack of effect on starch biosynthesis was due to differences in enzymatic properties of the enzyme from potato and tomato or rather due to differential subcellular compartmentation of reductant in the different organs. The results are discussed in the context both of current models of metabolic compartmentation and engineering.
Carotenoids represent some of the most important secondary metabolites in the human diet, and tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) is a rich source of these health promoting compounds. In this work, a novel and fruit-related regulator of pigment accumulation in tomato has been identified by Artificial Neural Network Inference Analysis (ANN) and its function validated in transgenic plants. A tomato-fruit gene-regulatory network was generated using ANN and transcription-factor gene-expression profiles (Tfs) derived from fruits sampled at various points during development and ripening. One of the Tfs with a sequence related to an Arabidopsis PSEUDO RESPONSE REGULATOR 2-LIKE gene (APRR2-Like) was up-regulated at the breaker stage in wild type tomato fruits and, when over expressed in transgenic lines, increased plastid number, area and pigment content; enhancing the levels of chlorophyll in immature unripe fruits and carotenoids in red ripe fruits. Analysis of the transcriptome of transgenic lines over expressing the tomato APPR2-Like gene revealed up-regulation of several ripening-related genes in the over-expression lines providing a link between expression of this tomato gene and the ripening process. A putative orthologue of the tomato APPR2-Like gene in sweet pepper was associated with pigment accumulation in fruit tissues. We conclude that the function of this gene is conserved across taxa and that it encodes a protein that has an important role in ripening.
In recent decades, fresh and minimally processed produce items have been associated with an increasing proportion of foodborne illnesses. Most pathogens associated with fresh produce are enteric (fecal) in origin, and contamination can occur anywhere along the farm-to-fork chain. Microbial source tracking (MST) is a tool developed in the environmental microbiology field to identify and quantify the dominant source(s) of fecal contamination. This study investigated the utility of an MST method based on Bacteroidales 16S rDNA sequences as a means of identifying potential fecal contamination, and its source, in the fresh produce production environment. The method was applied to rinses of fresh produce, source and irrigation waters, and harvester hand rinses collected over the course of one year from nine farms (growing tomatoes, jalapeño peppers, and cantaloupe) in Northern Mexico. Of 174 samples, 39% were positive for a universal Bacteroidales marker (AllBac), including 66% of samples from cantaloupe farms (3.6 log10 genome equivalence copies [GEC]/100 ml), 31% of samples from tomato farms (1.7 log10 GEC/100 ml), and 18% of samples from jalapeño farms (1.5 log10 GEC/100 ml). Of 68 AllBac-positive samples, 46% were positive for one of 3 human-specific markers (BFD, HF183, BVulg), and none were positive for a bovine-specific marker (BoBac). There was no statistically significant correlation between Bacteroidales and generic E. coli across all samples. This study provides evidence that Bacteroidales markers may serve as alternative indicators for fecal contamination in fresh produce production, allowing for determination of both general contamination and that derived from the human host.
Infant dietary patterns tend to be insufficient sources of fruits, vegetables, and fiber, as well as excessive in salt, added sugars, and overall energy. Despite the serious long-term health risks associated with suboptimal fruit and vegetable intake, a large percentage of infants and toddlers in the U.S. do not consume any fruits or vegetables on a daily basis. Since not all fruits and vegetables are nutritionally similar, guidance on the optimal selection of fruits and vegetables should emphasize those with the greatest potential for nutrition and health benefits. A challenge is that the most popularly consumed fruits for this age group (i.e., apples, pears, bananas, grapes, strawberries) do not closely fit the current general recommendations since they tend to be overly sweet and/or high in sugar. Unsaturated oil-containing fruits such as avocados are nutritionally unique among fruits in that they are lower in sugar and higher in fiber and monounsaturated fatty acids than most other fruits, and they also have the proper consistency and texture for first foods with a neutral flavor spectrum. Taken together, avocados show promise for helping to meet the dietary needs of infants and toddlers, and should be considered for inclusion in future dietary recommendations for complementary and transitional feeding.
Prolonged tomato consumption can mitigate ultraviolet (UV) light induced sunburn via unknown mechanisms. Dietary carotenoids distributed to skin are hypothesized to protect skin against UV-induced damage, although other phytochemicals may play a role. We hypothesize that tomato consumption would protect against skin cancer. SKH-1 hairless and immunocompetent mice (n = 180) were fed AIN-93G or AIN-93G + 10% tangerine or red tomato powder for 35 weeks. From weeks 11-20, mice (n = 120) were exposed to 2240 J/m(2) UV-B light, 3x/week, and tumors were tracked weekly. Control mice were fed the same diets but not exposed to UV. Tumor number was significantly lower in male mice consuming red tomato diets (1.73 ± 0.50, P = 0.015) or pooled tomato diets (2.03 ± 0.45, P = 0.017) compared to controls (4.04 ± 0.65). Carotenoid levels in plasma and skin were quantitated, with total lycopene higher in skin of tangerine fed animals despite a lower dose. Metabolomic analyses elucidated compounds derived from tomato glycoalkaloids (including tomatidine and hydroxylated-tomatidine) as significantly different metabolites in skin after tomato exposure. Here, we describe that tomato consumption can modulate risk for keratinocyte carcinomas; however, the role of the newly identified specific phytochemicals possibly responsible for this action require further investigation.
Residents of some low-income neighborhoods have limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables. In 2008, New York City issued new mobile fruit and vegetable cart licenses for neighborhoods with inadequate availability of fresh produce. Some of these carts were equipped with electronic benefit transfer (EBT) machines, allowing them to accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. This article examines the association between type and quantities of fruits and vegetables purchased from mobile fruit and vegetable vendors and consumer characteristics, including payment method.
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that Americans consume more fruits and vegetables as part of an overall dietary pattern to reduce the risk for diet-related chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and obesity (1). Adults should consume 1.5-2.0 cup equivalents of fruits and 2.0-3.0 cups of vegetables per day.* Overall, few adults in each state met intake recommendations according to 2013 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data; however, sociodemographic characteristics known to be associated with fruit and vegetable consumption were not examined (2). CDC used data from the 2015 BRFSS to update the 2013 report and to estimate the percentage of each state’s population meeting intake recommendations by age, sex, race/ethnicity, and income-to-poverty ratio (IPR) for the 50 states and District of Columbia (DC). Overall, 12.2% of adults met fruit recommendations ranging from 7.3% in West Virginia to 15.5% in DC, and 9.3% met vegetable recommendations, ranging from 5.8% in West Virginia to 12.0% in Alaska. Intake was low across all socioeconomic groups. Overall, the prevalence of meeting the fruit intake recommendation was highest among women (15.1%), adults aged 31-50 years (13.8%), and Hispanics (15.7%); the prevalence of meeting the vegetable intake recommendation was highest among women (10.9%), adults aged ≥51 years (10.9%), and persons in the highest income group (11.4%). Evidence-based strategies that address barriers to fruit and vegetable consumption such as cost or limited availability could improve consumption and help prevent diet-related chronic disease.