Scientists have conducted the world's first large-scale gene expression study of the humble pineapple - and have identified many genes involved in the ripening and nutritional benefits of the tropical fruit.
The pineapple is a tropical fruit crop of significant commercial value, yet surprisingly there has been little research undertaken world-wide, researchers said.
"This is the first large-scale gene expression study that has identified numerous genes involved in pineapple ripening and other important processes such as redox activity and organic acid metabolis," Dr Jonni Koia from the University of Queensland said.
"In addition, my research also identified genes conferring nutritional and health benefits, such as those involved in anti-oxidant, glutathione and vitamin C production," said Koia.
"The results generated from my study have wide-ranging use across agriculture and food science, and could be incorporated in the future development of other important food and plant crops," she said.
Koia also characterised two genomic regions (called promoters) that control gene activity within the cell and have important biotechnological applications. "The demand for new plant-based gene promoters without patent protection is of particular interest among the research and Agbiotech community," she said.
The two promoters discovered by Koia's research are derived from pineapple can be freely used for basic research and the plant improvement. Her research also has potential health outcomes, which may lead to improved nutritional and dietary intake of food crops to relieve chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. The study was published in the journals BMC Plant Biology and Plant Molecular Biology.