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Genetic Tinkering Adds Shelf Life To Tomatoes

June 30, 2010: 01:33 PM EST
Adding a yeast gene to tomatoes increases production of a compound that slows aging and delays microbial decay, a study finding that probably transfers to most fruits. The U.S. researchers said the technology inhibits the aging of plants and extends the shelf life of fruits – in the case of tomatoes by an additional week. The organic compound spermidine is a member of the class of chemicals known as polyamines that influence hundreds of genes. The researchers introduced the yeast spermidine synthase gene, which increased production of spermidine in the tomatoes. The ripe tomatoes from those plants stayed fresh eight days longer than untreated tomatoes before they began to shrivel. In addition, decay and rot symptoms associated with fungi were delayed by about three days.
Avtar Handa, Autar Mattoo, et al., "Overexpression of Yeast Spermidine Synthase Impacts Ripening, Senescence and Decay Symptoms in Tomato", The Plant Journal, June 30, 2010, © Blackwell Publishing Ltd. and the Society for Experimental Biology
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