Tomato consumption prolongs life

Researchers at the John Innes Center in Norwich, United Kingdom, in collaboration with other European centers participating to the FLORA project, have obtained genetically modified tomatoes rich in anthocyanins, a category of antioxidants belonging to the class of flavonoids. These tomatoes showed a significant protective effect by extending the life of mice. 

It is a remarkable step forward in the study on antioxidants, particularly flavonoids, widely considered as a useful tool to prevent many diseases, from cardiovascular disease to certain cancers. Diet followed by most people living in the Western world seems to be sufficient to ensure adequate intake of these substances, present in many fruits and vegetables such as berries. That is why the FLORA project aims at understanding the mechanisms and attempt to find new ways to increase their consumption. 

In order to obtain fruit particularly rich in anthocyanins, which gave a violet color to tomatoes, the British team used two genes from Antirrhinum majus flower: Delila and Rosea1. 

Experiments were done on mice that were divisor in three groups, with three different diets. The group of mice with diet rich in purple and red tomato powder showed a significant increase the life span, the average 182 days of life compared with 142 days recorded in mice with a standard procedure. 

Sursa www.eurekalert.org

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