|Navarre, Duroy - Roy
|ZHU, MEIJUN - Washington State University
|HELLMANN, HANJO - Washington State University
Submitted to: Oxygen
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/26/2022
Publication Date: 9/1/2022
Citation: Navarre, D.A., Zhu, M., Hellmann, H. 2022. Plant antioxidants affect human and gut health, and their biosynthesis is influenced by environment and reactive oxygen species. Oxygen. 2(3):348-370. https://doi.org/10.3390/oxygen2030025.
Interpretive Summary: Plants with higher amounts of vitamins and phytonutrients are increasingly desired by consumers and also contribute to food security. Many environmental stresses including drought, salt, cold and excess light cause an increase in damaging reactive oxygen species in plants. Plants counter this by making increased amounts of compounds that act as antioxidants and protect the plant from oxidative stress. Many of these compounds are not made by humans, so are desirable in the diet and peform a similar protective role in humans when ingested, reducing risk of numerous diseases including cancer and diabetes. Breeding and transgenic approaches have been widely used to increase crop nutritional value, but relatively little effort has been directed towards increasing crop nutritional value through management. Because amounts of many plant nutritional compounds are markedly increased by environmental stimuli, deliberately managing a crop to maximize its phytonutrient content presents an additional approach to enhance the nutritional value of crops.
Technical Abstract: Many environmental stresses cause an increase in reactive oxygen species in plants and alter their nutritional value. Plants respond to many stresses by producing increased amounts of compounds with antioxidant properties including vitamins, phenylpropanoids and carotenoids. Such compounds have wide-ranging health-promoting effects in humans that are partly due to their antioxidant function because oxidative stress underlies many human diseases. Some of these compounds have complex interactions with the gut, promoting gut health and changing the gut microbiome, whereas the gut influences the bioavailability of the ingested compounds and may metabolize them into products with different effects on health than the original com-pound. Substantial efforts have been made to increase the nutritional value of crops through breeding or transgenic approaches, but comparatively little effort has been directed towards increasing nutritional value through crop management and environment, which may present another approach to enhance the nutritional quality.