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Russian scientists learn how to ‘squeeze’ more disease-fighting nutrients from grapes

May 16, 2017, 17:47 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The scientists have succeeded in boosting the synthesis of the substance which has a beneficial effect on human health 3-8 fold in the grape cell culture

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© Vitaly Timkiv/TASS

MOSCOW, May 16. /TASS/ Researchers from the Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU) and Far East Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences (FEB RAS) have discovered a way to make the cells of an Amur grape produce healthier, more biologically active substances. The study’s results have been published in the scientific journal Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture.

"We have succeeded in boosting the synthesis of resveratrol 3-8 fold in the grape cell culture," the article reported.

Resveratrol is the substance which has a beneficial effect on human health. It is a very efficient antioxidant, has anti-cancer properties, and can prevent the development of cardiovascular diseases. Moreover, this substance might provide benefits for agriculture, since genetically-engineered plants capable of producing large amounts of resveratrol are more resistant to fungus diseases and stress.

Researchers from FEFU have based their study on the previous results showing that the synthesis of resveratrol in grapes is connected to the gene activity of protein kinases, VaCPK1 and VaCPK26. In order to boost the production of resveratrol in grapes, scientists formed gene constructions where the genes of protein kinases were combined with regulatory elements. The combinations obtained were put into the grape cells. The results demonstrated that the cells in which the ‘tweaked’ genes of protein kinases were introduced, manufactured 3-8 times more resveratrol.

According to the scientists, the results of their study will make it possible in the future to produce valuable biologically active grape substances from the bulk of cultivated cells under laboratory conditions. In addition, now the prospects of studying and obtaining a new hybrid species from the Amur grape, Vitis amurensis, whose resistance to many diseases and low temperatures are now being looked into with the colleagues from Crimea and the Krasnodar Region.

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