India develops GM tomato

For fresh fruit and vegetable marketing and distribution in Asia Staff


India develops GM tomato

Indian researchers have developed a genetically modified tomato that stays fresh 30 days longer than traditional varieties

India develops GM tomato

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Scientists in India have developed a genetically modified (GM) tomato that stays fresh for an extra month.

Researchers located the chemicals in tomatoes that make them rot, and a way to suppress them, giving the tomatoes an extra 30 days of freshness.

By suppressing the enzymes that accumulate during ripening, the researchers were able to extend shelf life, and they believe the finding will be a huge benefit to farmers.

Dr Asis Datta and his colleagues at the National Institute of Plant Genome Research in New Delhi used genetic engineering to stop the enzymes.

The GM tomatoes retained their texture and firmness for up to 45 days, as opposed to 15 days for conventional tomato varieties.

"Overall, the results demonstrate a substantial improvement in fruit shelf life," Dr Datta said.

The scientists claim that the GM tomato plants grow and ripen as a normal tomato plant would.

"In a globalised economy, control of fruit ripening is important because excessive softening limits shelf life," Dr Datta added.

"Our strategy allows the achievement of desired texture and firmness and enhancement of shelf life without any ill-effects. This strategy can be extended to other fruit crops."

The Indian government is currently holding a series of public hearings to determine whether to allow commercial farming of GM brinjal in the country.

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