(NaturalNews) Victorian scientists have been working to improve produce in more ways than just increasing production and yields. Using a combination of genetic marking and traditional selective seeding, scientists in Australia have managed to map which genes are more likely to produce higher levels of antioxidants in green produce.1
Using this knowledge, they've bred hybrids of some vegetables that have up to 40% higher antioxidant levels than their standard counterparts. The first strain to appear on grocery store shelves this year will be broccoli, which is just now being harvested.2
Here at Natural News, readers are well-aware of the power of anti-oxidants and their great benefits in preventive medicine and health. Antioxidants are known to relieve many types of pain, boost thyroid and pancreatic function, relieve stress, and improve overall health and well-being. They even help improve beauty and skin tone. Antioxidants are the free radical's worst nightmare and are one of the healthiest things you can put into your body. So this could be great news.
The new strains are being developed as part of a Department of Primary Industry's (roughly equivalent to the U.S. Department of Commerce) effort to increase the health benefits of Australian produce, increase profits for farmers, and better the health of the nation overall.
Although the broccoli and other new hybrids have been developed using genetic marking, they are not the result of genetic engineering or modification. Genetic marking merely labels and surveys DNA strains to find which changes occurred from one generation to the next and mark which genes in the DNA are responsible for specific traits in the plant. Using this, scientists can then figure out how to promote those genes in future generations by selectively breeding plants.
So far, the program has developed the current crop of commercial broccoli, a test strain of green leaf lettuce, and other vegetables to be tested and perfected - fifteen in all. The new produce will be branded with a premium label and sold in stores in a similar way to organics and locally-grown options.
Another added benefit of the "booster broccoli" (as the DPI scientists call it) is that it has a sweeter taste due to it's higher sugar content. Water stress (drought) actually boosts antioxidant levels in the plants, which is good for the Australian climate.
In the near future, grocery shelves could be stocked with produce that have much higher anti-oxidant levels and provide better-tasting, healthier food.
Aaron Turpen is a professional writer living in Wyoming in the USA. His blogs cover organic/sustainable living and environmental considerations (AaronsEnvironMental.com) and the science debunking mainstream medical and proving alternatives (HiddenHealthScience.com).
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