Solving the controversy of healthier organic fruit: Leaf wounding triggers distant gene expression response of polyphenol biosynthesis in strawberry fruit (Fragaria x ananassa)
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The claim that organic agriculture produces higher levels of phytochemicals has been controversial for decades. Using strawberries as a model crop in field conditions, a preharvest leaf wounding stress was applied to study the production of phytochemicals in fruits. As a result phenolic compounds (PCs) and total soluble sugars increased significantly, where specific phenylpropanoids showed increment up to 137% and several genes related to PCs biosynthesis and sugar transport were overexpressed. It was observed that the accumulation of PCs on fruits can be triggered by the application of wounding stress in a distant tissue and this accumulation is directly related to carbon partition and associated gene expression. This supports the idea that higher levels of healthy phytochemicals reported in organic fruits and vegetables could be due to the wounding component of the biotic stress attributed to insects to which the plant are exposed to.
author list (cited authors)
Ibanez, F., Bang, W. Y., Lombardini, L., & Cisneros-Zevallos, L.