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Maximizing Antioxidants in Fruits

Wang, S.Y.
Acta horticulturae 2010 no.877 pp. 81-93
antioxidant activity, carbon dioxide, carotenoids, climate, composts, cultivars, elevated atmospheric gases, enzyme inhibitors, fertilizer application, flavonoids, free radical scavengers, fruit crops, fruit growing, fruits, genotype, light intensity, lipids, mulching, oxidation, oxygen, phenols, plant breeding, postharvest treatment, selection criteria, soil types, synergists, temperature, vitamins
Fruits contain high levels of antioxidant compounds, such as carotenoids, flavonoids, vitamins and phenols. These antioxidants are capable of performing a number of functions including free radical scavengers, peroxide decomposers, singlet and triplet oxygen quenchers, enzyme inhibitors, and synergists. Antioxidants can also delay or prevent the oxidation of lipids or other molecules by inhibiting the initiation or propagation of oxidizing chain reactions. Preharvest conditions such as climate, temperature, light intensity, soil type, compost mulching, fertilization, increasing carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere, and application of naturally occurring compounds, all can affect the antioxidant content and antioxidant activity of the harvested fruits. Other factors affecting antioxidant activities including crop genotype variation and maturity, culture practices, postharvest handling and storage are also discussed. Methods to maximize antioxidants in fruits such as improving selection criteria among different horticultural cultivars, improving preharvest conditions and postharvest handling are presented.