Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 2, 2001
Publication Date: June 1, 2002
Citation: GIOVANNONI, J.J. GENETIC CONTROL OF FRUIT QUALITY AND PROSPECTS FOR NUTRIENT MODIFICATION. HORTSCIENCE. 2002. V. 37. P. 453-456. Interpretive Summary: The nutritional challenges in developed nations such as the US are unique and significant. Minimal nutritional requirements are often not met while caloric requirements are increasingly exceeded. This dichotomy typically results from consumption of excessive snack and processed foods in place of fruits and vegetables - which are typically the highest sources of fiber and many essential vitamins and nutrients. Advanced plant breeding and genetic enhancement (biotechnology) afford opportunities to address this important health challenge by a) increasing the quality of produce (flavor, aroma, appearance, texture) to enhance desirability thus making fruits and vegetables more competitive with processed foods, and b) optimizing concentration and bio-availability of essential nutrients to yield crops with greater "health impact". In addition to the US and developed countries, products developed from said technologies will be important for meeting nutritional needs in under-developed and developing nations.
Technical Abstract: Elucidation of the carotenoid biosynthesis pathway yielded important tools for modification of plant carotenoid levels. Nevertheless, while important pathways for biosynthesis of carotenoids and additional phytonutrients may be understood, regulatory hierarchies which control metabolite flux through said pathways are largely unknown. Development of comprehensive genomic and dEST sequence databases such as that currently being developed for tomato, combined with technologies for large-scale expression profiling and data tracking, should allow for greater understanding of genetic-regulatory networks underlying nutrient and health properties of plant-based foods. Resulting insights will lead to more efficient and targeted manipulations that will optimize health benefits with minimal adverse impact on quality.