Built-in 'clock' in plants may help maintain freshness

June 21, 2013 (HOUSTON, Tex.)

Scientists at Rice University in Houston set out to study the circadian cycles of day and night and how it affects plants against insects.

Time-lapse footage shows cabbage stored in light and dark cycles remained fresh longer than those kept in constant light.

They also found specific chemicals released by the cabbage during its circadian cycle.

"These chemicals are important anti-cancer compounds," said Dr. Janet Braam, a Rice University researcher. "They've been shown to have activity against cancer growth."

The researchers say their findings *could* suggest that storing produce in dark and light cycles will keep it fresh longer.

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