Today’s programmes aiming at enhancement of fruit and vegetable consumption have been intensified. In the unanimous view of experts, different health problems, such as those of the immune system, inflammations, and even certain cancerous diseases can be prevented and/or cured with regular consumption of fresh (raw) fruit and vegetables. It is... well-known fact that among the biologically valuable components, antioxidant compounds – C- and E vitamins, as well as carotinoides – play an important role. In this field, Hungary can expect success in the future since it has excellent plant genetic stock. Regretfully, national data banks regarding cultivation technology, cultivation areas or varieties for fruits and vegetables and their antioxidant contents do not exist in Hungary. Nevertheless, in connection with the so-called “Hungaricums” its existence would be of urgent necessity. Such excellent Hungarian products are – among others – a lot of sour cherry varietiles, the Szeged green pepper and the Makó onion. They enjoy high priority as “Hungaricums” even in the European Union and such activities that support these kinds of products should be enhanced by intense and consequent research work, which may prove their role as functional foods. Presently’ the USA leads in the research of antioxidant compounds of sour cherry, and so far 17 of these compounds have been found partly in Hungarian varieties. Similar research on green, and ‘pritamin’ peppers have not gone so far since they were limited only for seasoning paprika. In Hungary, studies on onion and garlic have not been performed. It should be mentioned that due to the continental climate, these products may be cultivated, consumed or processed only in a limited period. Taking this into consideration, processing and conserving methods are needed which make the consumption of these fruit and vegetables as functional food possible year-round. Scientific establishment of this set of questions is of current concern, because consumption of these products could have an important role in improving the health status of the Hungarian population in the future.
In our present study, we performed a quick test of the antioxidant capacity of domestic fruit and vegetable cultivars with a PHOTOCHEM® instrument (Analytik Jena AG, Germany). The instrument is special because it can measure both the total lipid-soluble antioxidant capacity (ACL method) and the total water-soluble antioxidant capacity. Another... advantage of the system is its quick measurement. With similar instruments, such measurement can take several hours, while PHOTOCHEM® can perform it within a few minutes.
In our model studies, we examined the changes in the antioxidant capacity of sour cherry, green pepper, carrot, pumpkin, red beet and Brassica sp. cultivars. We aimed to determine how suitable the instrument is for quick, routine measurements in the case of the different horticultural products and which species have high antioxidant capacity values.
On the basis of our examinations, we can state that the PHOTOCHEM® system is suitable for routine, semi-automated measurements of the total antioxidant capacity at several vegetables and fruits. Besides this, the system can be used for testing the quality of food products, for monitoring storability in post-harvest technologies, and for special breeding programmes and for physiological and biotechnological studies.
Selenium (Se) is an essential trace element for animals, microorganisms and some other eukaryotes. It has become increasingly evident that Se plays a significant role in reducing the incidence of lung, colorectal and prostate cancer in humans. Although there is evidence that selenium is needed for the growth of algae, the question of essentiali...ty of Se in vascular plants is unresolved. Therefore Raphanus sativus (Se accumulator) and Capsicum annuum (non Se accumulator) were treated with 0-200 mg/l natrium-selenate. The results showed that lower (2 mg/l) concentration natrium-selenate increased the fitomass and total antioxodant capacity in seedlings.