Recent American studies have shown that aubergines contain very high levels of an antioxidant that protects the body's cells against illness.

Scientists at the US Agricultural Research Service found that chlorogenic acid, one of the most powerful antioxidants produced in plant tissues, was the predominant phenolic compound in nearly all the samples analysed.

Phenolic acids are a simple class of antioxidant phenylpropanoid compounds; plants produce many different phenylpropanoids to protect themselves against stress and infection.

The scientists studied seven aubergine varieties grown commercially in the United States, and a collection of exotic and wild aubergines (eggplants) from other countries. Researchers want to identify valuable traits to introduce into popular commercial varieties through breeding.