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Insect Leaf-Wounding Results in Healthier Fruit, Study Finds

Scientists with Texas A&M AgriLife Research completed a study that shows plants produce healthier fruit when their leaves have been wounded by insects. Researchers found that when strawberry plant leaves were damaged to mimic insect feeding, plants activated a defense mechanism that resulted in more antioxidants in their fruit. The study had its origins in a theory that organically grown produce could have higher levels of beneficial compounds due to a higher incidence of insect activity. Researchers say the results of this study could affect the way that both conventional and organic produce is grown, by introducing pre-harvest stress tools that improve antioxidant levels.