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Fred Searle


Thursday 14th June 2018, 11:22 London

Bitterness ‘important for pest control' in veg

Sweeter varieties of cauliflower are more vulnerable since strong flavours help repel insects

Bitterness ‘important for pest control' in veg

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Reducing the bitterness of vegetables is harming their ability to repel pests, scientists have warned.

To suit modern flavour preferences, vegetables such as cauliflower are increasingly bred to be sweeter and less bitter, however this could be making them more vulnerable to pests, The Daily Mail reported.

John Pickett, professor of biological chemistry at Cardiff University, said the same chemicals that produce bitterness in vegetables also help to ward off pests.

Speaking at the Cheltenham Science Festival on 10 June, he added: “By moving the flavour more on the weaker side... the bugs have an even better time.”

According to Pickett, scientists may be able to concentrate bitterness in cauliflower leaves, which people tend not to eat, but he warned that more pesticides would still be needed to control pests.

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