High light bio-fortification stimulates de novo synthesis of resveratrol in Diplotaxis tenuifolia (wild rocket) micro-greens

Bianke Loedolff, Jolene Brooks, Marietjie Stander, Shaun Peters, Jens Kossmann

Abstract


Background: Brassica vegetables and leafy greens are consumed globally due to their health promoting phytochemicals. Diplotaxis tenuifolia (wild rocket or arugula) is a popular Brassica leafy green, with a diverse range of phytochemicals (in mature plants). Immature plants (micro-greens, 2-4 true leaves) accumulate phytochemicals up to 10 times more than plants grown to maturity. Although plants accumulate phytochemicals ubiquitously, environmental stimuli can further enhance this phenomenon of accumulation, which is part of a global stress mechanism in plants. In this study, we describe a simple method toward the bio-fortification of a wild rocket micro-green system, via environmental manipulation (using high light).

Objective: To establish a high light-induced bio-fortification strategy to augment the accumulation of bio-active compounds in Brassica micro-greens (wild rocket), with the purpose of developing a ‘designer’ micro-green melange (functional food product) containing a diverse range of bio-active (disease preventative) compounds.

Results: High light stimulated wild rocket micro-greens to achieve a significant increase of known phytochemicals (documented in relevant Brassica leafy greens). Furthermore, undocumented phytochemicals (resveratrol, catechin, epicatechin, and kaempferol, among others) also accumulated to adequate concentrations. Plant extracts from bio-fortified micro-greens displayed increased anti-oxidant capacity (up to 3-fold, when compared to control), a key component in future cancer cell research.

Conclusion: The use of high light resulted in successful bio-fortification of wild rocket micro-greens, evidenced by the accumulation of previously undocumented polyphenols (such as resveratrol, catechin and epicatechin) and improved anti-oxidant capacity.

Key Words: anti-oxidant, high light, micro-greens, resveratrol, wild rocket 


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