Effect Of Agricultural Practices

A number of agricultural practices, particularly those with plants, directly affect the carotenoid content. Thus the nutrient content of edible plants can vary severalfold to as much as 20 times (29). The major changes are caused by genetic manipulation. However, a number of factors such as sunlight, rainfall, topography, soils, location, season, fertilization of soils, and maturity may affect carotene content. Thus the nutritional tables give an average value with an understood large variation. A number of countries have developed nutritional tables that, when compared, show a great variation for the same fruit or vegetable. In the past, genetic manipulation has been concerned with the color, flavor, texture, and yield. Today there is more of an effort being made to produce foods that are nutritionally superior. Thus, interest is being shown in developing not only the color but also the quality of the color (eg, more fi-carotene). No agricultural practice has been as effective as genetic manipulation. High /(-carotene tomatoes have been developed but because of the yellow color were not popular. Sweet potatoes can vary from 0 to 7 mg/100 g of carotene and the carotene from carrots can be increased five times. Generally light has a positive effect on carotene synthesis. Fruit grown in the dark, however, will develop some color (30). Temperature has an effect, but this depends on the product. The most pronounced effect is on the ripening of the tomato. In temperatures below 27°C the synthesis of lycopene is favored, whereas a yellow tomato results at a higher temperature. Gamma irradiation also affects the formation of carotene (31).

Most vegetables and fruits increase in carotene during the ripening stage. The carotene content of the carrot increases until a level in maturity is reached. The /^-carotene level falls off upon further growth. In the case of the red pepper, the conversion from green to red lowers the carotene content. Because of cultural practices and shipping constraints, fruits may be picked green and thus the full color may not develop.

The Mediterranean Diet Meltdown

The Mediterranean Diet Meltdown

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