Reuters - Video

EDITION: U.S. | U.K. | IN

Lifestyle

Researchers shine light on better fruits and vegetables

Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 - 02:16

Sept. 4 - Scientists at the University of Florida are producing healthier and better tasting fruits and vegetables by exposing them to different types of light. The results of their experiments, published online in the journal, Postharvest Biology and Technology, could have significant implications for consumers. Ben Gruber reports.

▲ Hide Transcript

View Transcript

These tomatoes are basking under an intense red light...researchers say it will make them taste better. Kevin Folta says light is not only responsible for photosynthesis but can also be manipulated with different wavelengths to dramatically alter the properties of plants. (SOUNDBITE) (English) KEVIN FOLTA, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF HORTICULTURE, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA, SAYING: "So we are able to make something potentially taste a lot better just by changing its light environment which is exciting. We can also take something like sprouts and apply light to make them taste absolutely horrible, but at the same time, increase their antioxidants, increase their attractive colours and change what's even considered anti-cancer compounds, just by changing the type of light." Folta is using LEDs to generate different types of light, everything from UV to far red wavelengths that the human eye can't see. The goal is to find the types of light or combination of lights best suited to improving the taste and nutritional value of fruits and vegetables. He says different wavelengths of light can be used to control how volatile compounds, which produce taste and aroma in plants, express themselves and that in the future, grocery stores could be fitted with an array of LED's, allowing grocers to intensify the smell of their produce during peak shopping times. (SOUNDBITE) (English) KEVIN FOLTA, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF HORTICULTURE, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA, SAYING: "It would be a specific regimen that would hold back all of the aromas and smells during the evening hours and pool those metabolites and pool them together and release them in the morning when the doors would open. It might be something that we see in our refrigerators or some sort of special chamber at home. This is the excitement for us is that it might work on post-harvest fruit, we know it works on post-harvest fruit. You harvest it, you put it onto some sort of retail format and you can still manipulate that living tissue." Folta's research colleague Thomas Colohoun, says manipulating tissue is very different to altering a plants genetic makeup. He says the team is focused on producing tastier and more nutritious plants without the controversy of genetic modification. THOMAS COLOHOUN, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF HORTICULTURE, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA, SAYING: "We are only manipulating what light that plant sees. So when that plant sees light its metabolism is completely different from when the plant sees no light. All we are doing is somewhere in between and therefore this is why it is non-invasive to a natural product." The team says it will take a lot more research to figure out which wavelengths have the best effects on specific plants. But they are certain that through their work, consumers will one day see fruits and vegetables in a new light.

Researchers shine light on better fruits and vegetables

Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 - 02:16

Money »

S&P 500 closes at new high S&P 500 closes at new high

4:55pm EDT - (1:24)

S&P 500 just shy of record S&P 500 just shy of record

Wed, Aug 20, 2014 - (2:23)

Apple hits $100 a share Apple hits $100 a share

Tue, Aug 19, 2014 - (2:06)

Nasdaq closes at 14-year high Nasdaq closes at 14-year high

Mon, Aug 18, 2014 - (2:23)

Putin puts Wall Street in buying mood Putin puts Wall Street in buying mood

Thu, Aug 14, 2014 - (2:10)

We've become a promotional culture-RetailMeNot's Bodge We've become a promotional...

Thu, Aug 14, 2014 - (4:39)

Dow back to positive territory for year Dow back to positive territory for year

Wed, Aug 13, 2014 - (2:18)

Markets cheer Russia's Ukraine exit Markets cheer Russia's Ukraine exit

Fri, Aug 08, 2014 - (1:50)

Russia, Iraq push Dow to three-month low Russia, Iraq push Dow to three-month low

Thu, Aug 07, 2014 - (2:27)

Wall Street gains but telecom disconnected Wall Street gains but telecom disconnected

Wed, Aug 06, 2014 - (2:28)

Stocks zapped by energy weakness Stocks zapped by energy weakness

Tue, Aug 05, 2014 - (2:46)

The Exchange »

The Exchange: Hot commodity The Exchange: Hot commodity

Wed, Jul 16, 2014 - (9:25)

The Exchange: Constitutional crusade The Exchange: Constitutional crusade

Wed, Jun 25, 2014 - (11:35)

The Exchange: The value of money The Exchange: The value of money

Mon, Jun 02, 2014 - (9:53)

The Exchange: China’s Second Continent The Exchange: China’s Second Continent

Tue, May 27, 2014 - (9:35)

The Exchange: A master of business arts The Exchange: A master of business arts

Thu, May 08, 2014 - (8:24)

The Exchange: America's bankrupt cities The Exchange: America's bankrupt cities

Mon, May 05, 2014 - (8:52)

The Exchange: Let the rocking commence The Exchange: Let the rocking commence

Tue, Apr 08, 2014 - (8:13)

The Exchange: The Moneyball fallacies The Exchange: The Moneyball fallacies

Mon, Mar 24, 2014 - (9:54)

Is doing good a good business? Is doing good a good business?

Mon, Mar 17, 2014 - (7:38)

Reuters Investigates »

Re-homing victim: "I could have been dead" Re-homing victim: "I could have been dead"

Wed, Feb 19, 2014 - (8:24)

Cops and loggers in the Amazon rainforest Cops and loggers in the Amazon rainforest

Fri, Jan 10, 2014 - (4:01)

"Passed around like a dog" "Passed around like a dog"

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 - (6:32)

Adopted, then abandoned online Adopted, then abandoned online

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 - (13:21)

How the DEA keeps its secrets secret How the DEA keeps its secrets secret

Mon, Aug 05, 2013 - (1:36)

How education lost its role as the great equalizer - Reuters Investigates How education lost its role as the great...

Mon, Dec 17, 2012 - (7:52)

Jihad Jane: From abused child to American jihadist - Reuters Investigates Jihad Jane: From abused child to American...

Sat, Dec 08, 2012 - (10:01)

Jihad Jane: The order to kill - Reuters Investigates Jihad Jane: The order to kill - Reuters...

Sun, Dec 09, 2012 - (10:39)

Moving Pictures »

"Old timers" sail the Chesapeake Bay "Old timers" sail the Chesapeake Bay

Mon, Aug 11, 2014 - (2:27)

Burned memories Burned memories

Fri, Aug 08, 2014 - (3:02)

Images of July Images of July

Thu, Jul 31, 2014 - (1:20)

World Cup: passion on the pitch World Cup: passion on the pitch

Fri, Jul 11, 2014 - (1:00)

A refugee in America gives back A refugee in America gives back

Wed, Jul 02, 2014 - (3:25)

A long search for refuge A long search for refuge

Fri, Jun 20, 2014 - (3:04)

World Cup: Around the globe in 50 goals World Cup: Around the globe in 50 goals

Fri, Jun 06, 2014 - (1:08)

VIVID – Sydney’s spectacle of light VIVID – Sydney’s spectacle of light

Fri, May 30, 2014 - (1:37)

The week that changed Boston The week that changed Boston

Mon, Apr 14, 2014 - (3:28)