Challenges of phytochemical analysis and its application in developing new fruits and vegetables with improved health benefits Conference Paper uri icon


  • Recently medical science is moving toward the prevention of disease, rather than curing, by recommending a healthy diet that includes vegetables, fruits and grains. Numerous evidences clearly document that these food crops contain phytochemicals, known as antioxidants or functional compounds, assist in the prevention of cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other diseases when consumed in our diet. One of the main research objectives of the Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center (VFIC) at Texas A&M University is developing new fruit and vegetable varieties with higher or optimal levels of functional compounds by using selective breeding techniques, in addition to selection of horticultural traits, such as yield, shape, disease and pest resistance. This presentation introduced chemical analysis methods being utilized in breeding programs of fruits and vegetables for elevated levels of phytochemicals. Onion, carrot, watermelon, melon, tomato, pepper, spinach, grapefruit, peach and blackberry, are currently tested for carotenoids, sugars, terpenoids, pungency, capsaicinoids, vitamin C, flavonoids and ellagic acid. In order to support the breeding programs and collaborative research at VFIC, we need to modify existing methods or develop new methods to process large number of samples in a tight time window to meet growing and seed production schedule. There are wide variation in content of each phytochemical among varieties or individual plant within a variety in all crops tested and influenced by environment. Developing new varieties with higher levels of the listed phytochemicals is progressing in the breeding programs at the VFIC. New cultivars with increased uniform amounts of phytochemicals will provide more health benefit for the people.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Yoo, K. S., Pike, L., Patil, B. S., Leskovar, D., Crosby, K., & King, S.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Yoo, K Sun||Pike, L||Patil, BS||Leskovar, D||Crosby, K||King, S

publication date

  • May 2007