Maybe storing our vegetables in the dark underbelly of the fridge is not the best place to keep them fresh. According to research published ahead of print on the website of the Journal Current Biology, cabbages are able to respond to day and night cycles for up to one week after harvest.
So why does this matter? Well, plants in the brassica family produce insecticides, called glucosinolates, just before morning to keep themselves from being devoured by the insects as this is when they would be most active. Glucosinolates appear to have anticancer properties. The one of particular interest in this study, 4-methylsulfinylbutyl (4MSO) accumulated in plant tissue subjected to the light dark cycles but was quickly lost in plant tissue kept in only light or dark.
Perhaps we should have a light in our fridge’s vegetable draw that can be programmed so that the 4MSO is highest when it’s time for supper?