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How Hydrogen (H2) Can Support Food Security: From Farm to Fork


Molecular hydrogen (H2 ) is a low-molecular-weight, non-polar and electrochemically neutral substance that acts as an effective antioxidant and cytoprotective agent, with research into the effects of H2 incorporation into the food chain, at various stages, rapidly gaining momentum. H2 can be delivered throughout the food growth, production, delivery and storage systems in numerous ways, including as a gas, as hydrogen-rich water (HRW), or with hydrogen-donating food supplements such as calcium (Ca) or magnesium (Mg). In plants, H2 can be exploited as a seedpriming agent, during seed germination and planting, during the latter stages of plant development and reproduction, as a post-harvest treatment and as a food additive. Adding H2 during plant growth and developmental stages is noted to improve the yield and quality of plant produce, through modulating antioxidant pathways and stimulating tolerance to such environmental stress factors as drought stress, enhanced tolerance to herbicides (paraquat), and increased salinity and metal toxicity. The benefits of pre- and post-harvest application of H2 include reductions in natural senescence and microbial spoilage, which contribute to extending the shelf-life of animal products, fruits, grains and vegetables. This review collates empirical findings pertaining to the use of H2 in the agri-food industry and evaluates the potential impact of this emerging technology.

Funding source: This research was co-funded by Water Fuel Engineering and the University of the West of England. Funding identification number 7096050. Project code: RDAS0184.
Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: United Kingdom

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