Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry

, Volume 282, Issue 1–2, pp 65–73

The introduction of the stilbene synthase gene enhances the natural antiradical activity of Lycopersicon esculentum mill

  • R. Morelli
  • S. Das
  • A. Bertelli
  • R. Bollini
  • R. Lo Scalzo
  • D. K. Das
  • M. Falchi


Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) is a vegetable rich in antioxidants, such as lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Their presence is responsible for the characteristic ability of this product to inhibit the formation of reactive oxygen species, including singlet oxygen. The grapes and wines derived from grapes also contain powerful antioxidants. The antioxidant effect is derived from the polyphenols such as resveratrol and proanthocyanidin. Resveratrol is phytoalexin that is synthesized via the activation of the gene, stilbene synthase (STS). We decided to determine if the introduction of this gene into Lycopersicon esculentum Mill could modify its antioxidant activity. Using Electronic Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) spectroscopy, which permits the detection of antiradical activity, especially OH (hydroxyl radical), we showed that the antioxidant activity of the products, into which the gene STS had been introduced, was almost double than that of natural products and that their activity was especially pronounced due to ripening. Moreover, resveratrol concentrations in modified tomatoes were much higher than that found in the individual fruit. In the isolated hearts subjected to ischemia/reperfusion, the rats fed with modified tomato exhibited better cardiac performance, reduced myocardial infarct size and decreased number of apoptotic cardiomyocytes, and reduced oxidative stress compared to unmodified tomato or resveratrol alone indicating superior cardioprotective abilities of modified tomatoes.

Key words

antioxidant grape lycopene resveratrol tomato transgenic wine 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Morelli
    • 1
  • S. Das
    • 5
  • A. Bertelli
    • 2
  • R. Bollini
    • 3
  • R. Lo Scalzo
    • 4
  • D. K. Das
    • 5
  • M. Falchi
    • 2
  1. 1.C.N.R. (National Council of Research) – Institute of Molecular Science and TechnologyMilanItaly
  2. 2.Department of Medical Pharmacology, Chemotherapy and Toxicology, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of MilanMilanItaly
  3. 3.C.N.R. (National Council of Research) – Institute of Agricultural Biology and BiotechnologyMilanItaly
  4. 4.I.V.T.P.A. (Institute for the Technological Development of Agricultural Products)MilanItaly
  5. 5.Cardiovascular Research CenterUniversity of Connecticut School of MedicineFarmingtonUSA

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