The 3rd International Symposium on Human Health Effects of Fruits and Vegetables was held at the International Conference Centre, in Avignon, France, during 18 to 21 October 2009. The objective of FAV HEALTH 2009 was to continue providing a forum for horticultural scientists, nutritionists, food scientists, biomedical scientists, chemists, biochemists, clinicians, medical professionals, social economists to exchange information and bridge the communication gap between the agricultural sciences, nutrition and health sciences. Plenary sessions, oral communications and posters covered a wide range of topics from plant breeding to consumption behaviour.
Subsequent to the symposium, members of the European consortium LYCOCARD, an Integrated project within the EU 6th Framework programme, organized two conferences: “Tomato & health” on Wednesday, 21 October included presentations and a roundtable discussion of researchers and professionals and the general public. This free event presented the latest results on the impact of the Mediterranean Diet and particularly tomatoes on cardiovascular diseases, and the dietary recommendation to industry, health professionals and press.
The Thursday conference was rather dedicated to the scientific community. INRA Avignon, France, opened their doors for a sophisticated day of conferences dedicated to “Tomato, lycopene and health”. International famous senior scientists among them George Britton, John W. Erdman, Yoav Sharoni, Wilhelm Stahl et al. together with young researchers presented the state of the art of knowledge and the most recent research results of the nutritional quality of tomato with a focus on its main carotenoid pigment, i.e. lycopene. Those attending, more than a hundred people, had the opportunity to witness the most up-to-date research on lycopene and to listen to lectures designed to demonstrate inspirational science in biosynthesis, physico-chemical properties, metabolism and biological activities in vitro and in vivo and in particular mechanisms of protection against cancers and cardiovascular diseases. Many students came to this event. What a great chance and training for young scientists to get in touch with such concentrated wisdom on lycopene!
Along with a culinary stay in Avignon, these conferences have shown their participants again that tomatoes are loaded with all kinds of health benefits for the body. They are in fact, a highly versatile health product. Even with all the plentiful research that has gone into the health benefits of tomatoes, there is still more research being conducted as the medical science community understands that we have not fully tapped into the potential presented by a tomato just yet. Tomatoes are by far the healthiest of the fruits and vegetables with the power to ward off some of the worst known diseases to man.
Many thanks again to the local organizers Catherine Caris-Veyrat, Sophie Colvine, Patrick Borel and the coordinator of the LYCOCARD project, Volker Böhm, for making it all possible and some special days.