Phytonutrients are natural chemicals produced by plants (phyto-) that are beneficial to human health (-nutrients). Phytonutrients also constitute an essential part of plants’ chemical defense, protecting them against pests and pathogens.
We study how phytonutrients are made in plants using molecular, genetic, and biochemical tools. We also examine how accumulation of phytonutrients in plants is controlled by different factors under various environmental conditions. We hope to apply the knowledge obtained from these investigations to improve the nutritional value and agronomic performance of crop plants.
Our current efforts include enriching phytonutrients in staple food crops, exploring bioactive phytonutrients in functional foods and medicinal plants, and understanding functions of phytonutrients in plant disease resistance.