Tuesday, February 02, 2010

45 Days and Still Fresh

Image shows three sets of tomatoes. The ordinary control tomatoes (extreme left) soften and shrivel up, while texture of gene-silenced tomatoes remains intact for up to 45 days. Photo credit: Asis Datta, Subhra Chakraborty, national Institue of plant Genome Researc, New Delhi Plant biologists in India have discovered two previously unknown genes that are involved in fruit ripening and shut them down to create what might be the world’s longest-lasting tomatoes. The tomatoes developed at the National Institute of Plant Genome Research (NIPGR), New Delhi, can retain their firmness and texture for up to 45 days without refrigeration, compared with ordinary tomatoes that shrink and lose texture in about 15 days.
Scientists who were not associated with the research say it appears promising. “The work is somewhat unique ... the team led by Datta attacked a different ripening pathway,” said ROGER BEACHY, a leading plant biotechnologist and the director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture in the US. “I hope this work is followed up with studies to determine if the technology will help reduce post-harvest losses to other valuable crops and enhance food supply that will help feed a growing population,” BEACHY told The Telegraph. Click here for more Front Page Story by G.S. Mudur, The Telegraph Calcutta, Inda