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Hagai Yasuor, Alon Ben-Gal, Uri Yermiyahu, Elie Beit-Yannai and Shabtai Cohen

Glucometer (Optimum Xceed; Abbott). Lycopene and β-carotene determination. A 1-mL pepper juice sample was homogenized with 16 mL of acetone/hexane (4/6 v/v), and the supernatant was collected for determination of pigment content. β-carotene and lycopene were

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Keisuke Nonaka, Masayuki Kita, Yoshinori Ikoma, Hiroshi Fukamachi, Atsushi Imai, Terutaka Yoshioka and Masahiko Yamada

, and 4% water for 30 min through a linear gradient to 6% MeOH, 90% MTBE, and 4% water over 60 min; 2) to assay ζ-carotene (ZCA) and β-carotene (BCA), the composition altered from an initial 50% MeOH, 46% MTBE, and 4% water through a linear gradient to 6

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Keith O. Fuglie

nutrition (especially higher levels of β-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A), insect resistance, and higher dry matter yield (primarily for starch and flour processing). Regionally, the rankings for sweetpotato crop improvement constraints tended to score

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Beiquan Mou

There is increasing medical evidence for the health benefits derived from dietary intake of carotenoid antioxidants, such as β-carotene and lutein. Enhancing the nutritional levels of vegetables would improve the nutrient intake without requiring an increase in consumption. A breeding program to improve the nutritional quality of lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) must start with an assessment of the existing genetic variation. To assess the genetic variability in carotenoid contents, 52 genotypes including crisphead, leaf, romaine, butterhead, primitive, Latin, and stem lettuces, and wild species were planted in the field in Salinas, Calif., in the Summer and Fall of 2003 with four replications. Duplicate samples from each plot were analyzed for chlorophyll (a and b), β-carotene, and lutein concentrations by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Wild accessions (L. serriola L., L. saligna L., L. virosa L., and primitive form) had higher β-carotene and lutein concentrations than cultivated lettuces, mainly due to the lower moisture content of wild lettuces. Among major types of cultivated lettuce, carotenoid concentration followed the order of: green leaf or romaine > red leaf > butterhead > crisphead. There was significant genetic variation in carotenoid concentration within each of these lettuce types. Crisphead lettuce accumulated more lutein than β-carotene, while other lettuce types had more β-carotene than lutein. Carotenoid concentration was higher in summer than in the fall, but was not affected by the position of the plant on the raised bed. Beta-carotene and lutein concentrations were highly correlated, suggesting that their levels could be enhanced simultaneously. Beta-carotene and lutein concentrations were both highly correlated with chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b, and total chlorophyll concentrations, suggesting that carotenoid content could be selected indirectly through chlorophyll or color measurement. These results suggest that genetic improvement of carotenoid levels in lettuce is feasible.

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M. Radi, M. Mahrouz, A. Jaouad, M. Tacchini, S. Aubert, M. Hugues and M.J. Amiot

Phenolic composition and susceptibility to browning were determined for nine apricot (Prunus armeniaca L.) cultivars. Chlorogenic and neochlorogenic acids, (+)-catechin and (-)-epicatechin, and rutin (or quercetin-3-rutinoside) were the major phenolic compounds in apricots. In addition to these compounds, other quercetin-3-glycosides and procyanidins have been detected. Chlorogenic acid content decreased rapidly during enzymatic browning, but the susceptibility to browning seemed to be more strongly correlated with the initial amount of flavan-3-ols (defined as catechin monomers and procyanidins). As chlorogenic acid is certainly the best substrate for polyphenol oxidase, the development of brown pigments depended mainly on the flavan-3-ol content.

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David Byrne*, Marcia Vizzotto, Luis Cisneros-Zevallos, David Ramming and W. Okie

Stone fruits contain a range of phenolic compounds and carotenoids which have been implicated in improving human health. The objective of this study was to characterize the phytochemicals and antioxidant activity (AOA) exhibited in peaches and plums. Twenty-two peach varieties and fifty-three plum varieties with different flesh and skin color collected from fields in California, Georgia, and Texas were analyzed for their antioxidant content and AOA. Total phenolics, anthocyanins, carotenoids were analyzed spectrophotometrically. AOA was evaluated by DPPH. Anthocyanin and phenolic contents were higher in red-flesh than in white/yellow-flesh peaches. Carotenoid content was higher in yellow-flesh [2-3 mg β-carotene/100 g fw (fresh weight)] than in white or red-flesh peaches (0.01-1.8 mg β-carotene/100 g fw). AOA was about 2-fold higher in red-flesh varieties than in white/yellow-flesh varieties. Among the peaches, the AOA was well correlated with both phenolic and anthocyanin content. Among the plums, the anthocyanin content increased with the red color intensity. Although the plums varied widely in phenolic content, the red/purple-flesh plums generally had higher phenolic content (400-500 mg chlorogenic acid/100 g fw) than the other plums. Carotenoid content in plums was similar for all varieties (0.2-2 mg β-carotene/100 g fw). AOA was higher in red/purple-flesh varieties; however, it was well correlated only with the phenolic content in light colored flesh plums. These results suggest that red-flesh peach varieties have a greater potential health benefit based on antioxidant content and AOA as compared to the white/yellow-flesh varieties. Although this trend is not clear over all the plum varieties; the red/purple-flesh plums usually have higher antioxidant content and AOA.

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Peter M. Hanson, Ray-yu Yang, Jane Wu, Jen-tzu Chen, Dolores Ledesma, Samson C.S. Tsou and Tung-Ching Lee

Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) is among the most widely consumed vegetables worldwide and an important source of certain antioxidants (AO) including lycopene, β-carotene, and vitamin C. Improvement of tomato for content of AO and overall antioxidant activity (AOA) could potentially benefit human health in many countries. We evaluated 50 L. esculentum and three L. pimpinellifolium (L.) Mill. entries for contents of lycopene, β-carotene, ascorbic acid, total phenolics, and two assays for antioxidant activity [anti-radical power (ARP) and inhibition of lipid peroxidation (ILP)] for 2 years during the same period in south Taiwan. We detected high levels of genetic diversity for the AO and AOA measured in this study. Group means of the L. pimpinellifolium entries were significantly higher than L. esculentum group means for ARP, ILP, lycopene, ascorbic acid, phenolics, and soluble solids concentration, suggesting that introgression of alleles from L. pimpinellifolium may have potential to improve cultivated tomato for these traits. Ranking of entries for ILP and ARP were consistent between years, particularly for those entries with the highest means and these assays could be adopted by tomato breeders. Results from ILP and ARP assays were highly correlated (r = 0.82**) and it would be unnecessary to use both assays for tomato. Lycopene, β-carotene, ascorbic acid, soluble solids, and total phenolics were all positively correlated with ARP. Among AO, total phenolics content was most closely associated with ARP (r = 0.90**) and ILP (r = 0.83**); this suggests that phenolics make a major contribution to AOA in tomato fruit. Fruit size was negatively correlated with ARP (r = -0.74**) and ILP (r = -0.71**), indicating that combining large fruit size and high AOA will be challenging.

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D. Mark Hodges, Gene E. Lester, Robert D. Meyer, Vivian E. Willmets and Michele L. Elliot

Consumption of phytochemicals has been associated with reduced risks of human health dysfunctions such as cancers and heart disease. Such information has led to increased sales of fruits and vegetables. For example, in the United States, an estimated 23% increase in melon consumption (up to 13.2 lbs/capita/annum) has been recorded over 16 years. However, some health issues have been attributed to cantaloupe due to bacteria such as Salmonella attaching to inaccessible sites, such as the rind netting. Honeydew melons do not have a netted rind. The purpose of this study was to compare concentrations of antioxidants between cantaloupe and both green- and orange-fleshed honeydew melons during 14 days of storage to determine if orange-fleshed honeydew melon would represent a feasible alterative to cantaloupe to the increasingly health/food safety-conscious consumer. Cantaloupe (`Cruiser'; C), green-fleshed Honeydew (`HoneyBrew'; HB), and orange-fleshed Honeydew (`OrangeDew'; OD) melons were harvested in Texas at the beginning and at the end of the production season. β-carotene content was highest in OD, followed by C; no β-carotene was detected in HB. β-carotene levels did not change during storage. Phenolic levels increased in all three melon species during storage, whereas total ascorbate content declined in OD and in early harvest HB. Ascorbate peroxidase activities were lowest in OD, perhaps due to the lower ascorbate levels; little difference between the melon species in activities of the other ascorbate-associated enzymes were observed. Based on the phytochemicals measured in this study, choosing non-netted OD over netted C in order to reduce potential exposure to pathogens would not represent a less healthy food choice.

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Shiow Y. Wang and Hongjun Jiao

The effect of blackberries (Rubus sp.) genotypes on antioxidant activities against superoxide radicals (O2 ), hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), hydroxyl radicals (OH), and singlet oxygen (O,), was evaluated. The results were expressed as percent inhibition of active oxygen species production in the presence of fruit juice. The active oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) value referred to the net protection in the presence of fruit juice, and was expressed as micromoles of α-tocopherol, ascorbate, α-tocopherol, and β-carotene equivalents per 10 g of fresh weight for O2 , H2O2, OH, and O2, respectively. Among the different cultivars, juice of Hull' blackberry had the highest oxygen species, superoxide radicals (O2 ), hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), hydroxyl radicals (OH), and singlet oxygen (O2,) scavenging capacity. Different antioxidants have their functional scavenging capacity against active oxygen species. There were interesting and marked differences among the different antioxidants in their abilities to inhibit the different active oxygen species. β-carotene had by far the highest scavenging activity against O2 but had absolutely no effect on H2O2. Ascorbic acid was the best at inhibiting H2O2 free radical activity. For OH, there was a wide range of scavenging capacities with α-tocopherol the highest and ascorbic acid the lowest. Glutathione had higher O2 scavenging capacity compared to the other antioxidants.

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Sergey Nesterenko and Kenneth C. Sink

Lutein and zeaxanthin are becoming established as carotenoids beneficial for protection against common age-associated eye diseases. Thus, 15 potato (Solanum tuberosum subsp. tuberosum L.) breeding lines, cultivars Atlantic, Spunta, and Yukon Gold; and orange flesh OR-4 were surveyed for carotenoid profiles. Seven carotenoids, including violaxanthin, neoaxanthin, antheraxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin, β-cryptoaxanthin, and β-carotene, were identified in the 19 genotypes. Violaxanthin and lutein were the prominent carotenoids detected in all genotypes studied. Neoaxanthin and antheraxanthin were found in 26% and 63% of the genotypes, respectively. β-Cryptoaxanthin, zeaxanthin, and β-carotene were found in only 5%, 10%, and 16% of the genotypes, respectively. Lutein varied from 19.8 to 119.0 μg·100 g-1 fresh weight across the 15 white- or yellow-flesh breeding lines. In contrast, zeaxanthin was detected at a low level in only one breeding line and at high level in OR-4. The three cultivars had profiles typical of yellow-flesh potatoes `Spunta' and `Yukon Gold'; while `Atlantic' had a typical white-flesh profile and a trace of zeaxanthin. The carotenoid baseline data established in this study provide information for activities to enhance potato for lutein and zeaxanthin.