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Vegetable Rhythms

June 21, 2013

Keeping produce on a normal day/night schedule could improve its nutritional value.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Lights, Cabbage, Nutrients. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

When you close your refrigerator door the light goes out because, after all, there’s nothing in there that needs light. Or is there? Botanist Janet Braam at Rice University says that even after they’re picked, fruits and vegetables are still alive and sensitive to day/night cycles. What’s more, she and her colleagues report in the journal Current Biology that during the day, they produce high levels of chemical compounds that are toxic to plant-eating insects, but good for people.

JANET BRAAM (Rice University):

Those chemicals that defend the plant against insects are also important for human health. So those chemicals are among the most potent natural anticancer compounds known.

HIRSHON:

So in the future, fruits and vegetables could be harvested, shipped and stored in light conditions to optimize their nutrients. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.

(Jupiter Images)