Researchers report that growing cherry tomatoes in salty water can make them tastier and richer in antioxidants. Using diluted seawater to irrigate the tomato plants, the researchers believe, puts an environmental stress on the plants that causes them to produce higher levels of compounds such as vitamin C, vitamin E, dihydrolipoic acid, and chlorogenic acid in an attempt to cope with the stressful conditions. Happily for humans, those same compounds are thought to have healthful effects when consumed, and some of them improve the flavor of the tomatoes as well.
We'll talk with one of the authors of a paper on the work to be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. The researchers say the work could encourage the use of slightly brackish water in tomato agriculture, extending precious supplies of fresh water.
Produced by Charles Bergquist, Director and Contributing Producer