Nutraceutical value and safety of tomato fruits produced by mycorrhizal plants.
Sommaire de l'article
Tomato fruit has assumed the status of ‘functional food’ due to the association between its consumption and a reduced likelihood of certain types of cancers and CVD. The nutraceutical value of tomatoes can be affected by the cultivation conditions, e.g. the phytochemical content of the fruits may increase with the establishment of beneficial mycorrhizal symbioses in the plants. A multidisciplinary study was carried out to gain knowledge on the antioxidant, oestrogenic/anti-oestrogenic and genotoxic activity of tomato fruits produced by mycorrhizal plants. The present results showed that the symbiosis positively affected the growth and mineral nutrient content of tomato plants and enhanced the nutritional and nutraceutical value of tomato fruits through modifications of plant secondary metabolism, which led to increased levels of lycopene in fruits obtained from mycorrhizal plants, compared with controls. Moreover, such changes did not result in the production of mutagenic compounds, since tomato extracts induced no in vitro genotoxic effects. Fruit extracts, both hydrophilic and the lipophilic fractions, originating from mycorrhizal plants strongly inhibited 17-β-oestradiol-human oestrogen receptor binding, showing significantly higher anti-oestrogenic power compared with controls. The present study shows that beneficial plant symbionts, such as mycorrhizal fungi, can lead to the production of safe and high-quality food, which is an important societal issue strongly demanded by both consumers and producers.