First evidence that weed killers improve nutritional value of a key food crop

July 08, 2009

Scientists are reporting for the first time that the use of weed killers in farmers' fields boosts the nutritional value of an important food a crop. Application of two common herbicides to several varieties of sweet corn significantly increased the amount of key nutrients termed carotenoids in the corn kernels, according to a study scheduled for publication in the July 22 issue of ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a bi-weekly publication.

In the new study, Dean Kopsell and colleagues note that farmers grow about 240,000 acres of sweet corn in the United States each year, making it an important food crop. Corn is among only a few vegetable crops that are good sources of zeaxanthin carotenoids. Consuming carotenoid-rich vegetables may reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (a leading cause of vision loss among older people), heart disease, and cancer, the study notes.

The scientists exposed several varieties of sweet corn plants to the herbicide mesotrione or a combination of mesotrione and atrazine, another commonly used weed killer, and harvested mature corn 45 days later. Herbicide applications made the corn an even-better source of carotenoids, boosting levels in the mature kernels of some varieties by up to 15 percent. It specifically increased levels of lutein and zeaxanthin, the major carotenoids in sweet corn kernels, which studies have linked to a reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration.
-end-
ARTICLE #1 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
"Increase in Nutritionally Important Sweet Corn Kernel Carotenoids following Mesotrione and Atrazine Applications"

DOWNLOAD FULL TEXT ARTICLE : http://pubs.acs.org/stoken/presspac/presspac/full/10.1021/jf9013313

CONTACT:
Dean Kopsell, Ph.D.
The University of Tennessee
Knoxville, Tenn. 37996
Phone: 865-974-1145
Fax: 865-974-1947
Email: dkopsell@utk.edu

American Chemical Society

Related Carotenoids Articles from Brightsurf:

How boundaries become bridges in evolution
The mechanisms that make organisms locally fit and those responsible for change are distinct and occur sequentially in evolution.

How plants protect themselves from sun damage
MIT chemists have observed, for the first time, one of the possible mechanisms that have been proposed for how plants dissipate energy when they are exposed to excess sunlight.

Gene responsible for lutein esterification in bread wheat identified
Researchers have identified and confirmed the gene responsible for lutein esterification in bread wheat.

Meatballs might wreck the anti-cancer perks of tomato sauce
Some of the anti-cancer benefits of tomatoes, specifically those from a compound called lycopene, could disappear when they're eaten with iron-rich foods, according to a new study from The Ohio State University.

Cooking vegetables: healthier with extra virgin olive oil
Cooking vegetables in the sofrito (sauté) with extra virgin olive oil favours the absorption and release of bioactive compounds of its traditional ingredients (garlic, onion and tomato), according to the study published in the journal Molecules about the role of gastronomy in the health-improving effects of the Mediterranean Diet.

What the vibrant pigments of bird feathers can teach us about how evolution works
A UA team shows that evolution is driven by dependency on other species within ecological communities - testing a long-held idea of the UA's late, great George Gaylord Simpson.

New study uncovers how lutemax 2020 protects the eyes against blue light damage
Morristown, N.J., June 29, 2018 - In a new study published in Nutrients titled 'Lutein and Zeaxanthin Isomers Protect Against Light-induced Retinopathy via Decreasing Oxidative and Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress in BALB/cJ Mice', Lutemax 2020 supplementation was shown to protect photoreceptors against blue light damage by mitigating oxidative and endoplasmic reticulum stress -- a primary mechanism associated with photoreceptor damage and visual impairment.

Healthy diet may lower eye disease risk
An analysis of recent high-quality research reveals that diet may affect individuals' risks related to the development and progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Deep-freezing of orange juice can increase the absorption of beneficial compounds
The cold treatments have two opposite effects. On one hand, they cause the carotenoids to degrade (negative effect) and, on the other hand, they generate an increase in the bioaccessibility of the carotenoids (positive effect).

Tomatoes of the same quality as normal, but using only half the water
When reducing the water used to water cherry tomato crops by more than 50%, the product not only maintains its quality, both commercially and nutritionally, but it also even increases the level of carotenoids, compounds of great interest in the food-processing industry.

Read More: Carotenoids News and Carotenoids Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.