Rui Hai Liu, Cornell's Associate Professor of Food Science, has identified a dozen compounds called
Triterpenoids in an apple peel that either inhibit or kill cancer cells during
"We found that
several compounds have potent anti-proliferative activities against human
liver, colon and breast cancer cells and may be partially responsible for the
anti-cancer activities of whole apples," said Liu, who is affiliated with
Cornell's Institute of Comparative and Environmental Toxicology and is the
senior author of the study.
In earlier studies,
apples had been found not only to fight cancer cells in the laboratory, but
also to reduce the number and size of mammary tumours in rats. But now, Cornell
researchers think that the Triterpenoids may be doing much of the anti-cancer
were more potent and acted differently against the various cancer cell lines,
but they all show very potent anti-cancer activities and should be studied
further," said Liu.
In the study, the
research team analyzed the peel from 230 pounds of red delicious apples from
the Cornell orchard and isolated their individual compounds. After identifying
the structures of the promising compounds in the peel, the researchers tested
the pure compounds against cancer cell growth in the laboratory.
"We believe that a
recommendation that consumers to eat five to twelve servings of a wide variety
of fruits and vegetables daily is appropriate to reduce the risks of chronic
diseases, including cancer, and to meet nutrient requirements for optimum
health," said Liu.
The study is published
in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.