About this Research Topic
Horticultural crops are sources of bioactive compounds, including chemopreventive agents that potentially contribute to the prevention of chronic human diseases such as coronary vascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and others. Much interest has therefore generated in understanding the mechanisms and factors regulating the accumulation of biologically active phytonutrients such as antioxidants, vitamins, omega fatty acids, and minerals in plants. The build-up of these chemopreventing agents in fresh produce has been ascribed to genetic and environmental factors, such as cultivar and its origin, cultural practices to grow these, other environmental (abiotic and biotic) factors and postharvest storage conditions.
In fruits and vegetables, phytonutrients accumulate during ripening and maturation, respectively, and contribute to their quality defined by the aesthetic attributes such as flavor, color and texture, and the content of vitamins, antioxidants, chemopreventive agents, ω-3 fatty acids, amino acids, immunonutrients and fiber. The accumulation of the latter biomolecules during maturation and ripening is under genetic control and regulated by plant hormones. It is envisaged that the manipulation of such traits, be that through crop management and cultivation processes, breeding, or biotechnology will provide enhanced nutritional quality as well as improved fruit/vegetable postharvest quality. Studies focused on the evaluation of natural biodiversity through the application of ‘omics’ technologies seem to be the first step towards the application of modern marker assisted breeding and advanced molecular technologies to improve the nutritional quality and the content of bioactive compounds in horticultural crops.
This Research Topic provides a platform to overview the mechanism(s) of action of major bioactive substances, their biosynthesis, factors controlling their pools, breeding strategies as well as the application of ‘omics’ and systems biology approaches for enhancing the content of vitamins, antioxidants, chemopreventive agents, ω-3 fatty acids, amino acids, immunonutrients and fiber in fruit and vegetables and publish original research papers in these arena.
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