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UV-B-induced changes in secondary plant metabolites.

Epidemiological studies have revealed an association between a high consumption of fruit, vegetables and herbs and a lower risk of both cancer and cardiovascular diseases. This protective effect is mostly due to secondary metabolites present in plant tissues. In contrast to numerous previous UV‐B studies, which have focused on the potential impacts of increased levels of solar UV‐B radiation reaching the Earth’s surface due to stratospheric ozone depletion, recent investigations revealed that UV‐B radiation is an important regulator of plant secondary metabolism. Low, ecologically‐relevant UV‐B levels trigger distinct changes in the biosynthesis of secondary plant metabolites such as phenolic compounds, carotenoids and glucosinolates. Fundamental understanding of plant UV‐B perception and responses opens up new opportunities for crop manipulation. Thus, targeted low dosage UV‐B radiation treatments as emerging technology may be used to generate fruit, vegetables and herbs enriched with secondary plant metabolites for either fresh consumption or as a source for functional foods and nutraceuticals.

Schreiner, M. Wiesner-Reinhold, S. Baldermann, F.S. Hanschen, S. Neugart: UV-B-induced changes in secondary plant metabolites. In B. Jordan (Ed.), UV-B Radiation and Plant Life). Oxfordshire, United Kingdom: CABI. 2017