Relatively few plants have been examined as to their melatonin levels, but the preliminary data indicate the indole-amine is present and that its concentration may vary greatly over the light/dark cycle and between different species. Its presence in edible plants suggests that melatonin, like vitamin antioxidants, may be ingested in sufficient quantities to provide at least some protection against free radicals. In the plants themselves, melatonin is believed to function as a free-radical scavenger and in photoperi-odism. This area of research is in its early stages of development, and the next several years will likely be associated with a substantial increase in the amount of information related to both the content and function of melatonin in plants.

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