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Purple tomatoes hit the market! This effect on our health cannot be underestimated

Purple tomatoes hit the market!  This effect on our health cannot be underestimated

In 2008, in the magazine nature biotechnology Research has been published on genetically modified tomatoes that can produce more antioxidants called anthocyanins than other types. Now the purple tomato has finally been approved by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Nearly 15 years working on extraordinary tomatoes

Anthocyanins are natural plant pigments that are found in the vacuoles (especially in flowers and fruits) in the form of granules of various sizes. The color of anthocyanins depends on the acidity of the environment in which they are found. At pH less than 7 (acidic) it is red, and at neutral or alkaline (pH > 7) it turns blue/purple. But the color of anthocyanins is affected by many factors, such as temperature and the presence of metal ions.

Read also: The first CRISPR-modified foods are now available for purchase in Japan. It’s a tomato

Anthocyanins are present in many foods, including blueberries and red cabbage – and are responsible for the purple pigment in them. Anthocyanins have been linked to many health benefits, including a reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Some types of slightly purple-skinned tomatoes are low in anthocyanins, but with some genetic changes, their concentration can be increased. Two genes were taken from another plant (the larger snapper) and added to a tomato, resulting in a unique plant with rich purple flesh. Mice fed purple tomatoes lived 30% longer than animals on a regular diet.

Violet Tomatoes Made From NPS

The purple tomatoes that are now approved by the USDA are not much different from those that were developed in 2008, but the regulatory process has been long and complex. Only now it has been certified by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), which means the plant is no longer subject to strict controls that limit where and how it is grown. Purple tomatoes can be grown literally whenever possible.

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Read also: Tomatoes know when to eat them. They send electrical impulses into the bush with a warning

Jonathan Jones, who has worked with Cathy Martin to commercialize the plant for more than a decade, says:

When Katie and I founded NPS – Norwich Plant Sciences – nearly 15 years ago to bring the health-boosting, genetically-enhanced purple tomato to market, which was invented in the UK, we never thought it would take this long to get certified. This is an important day for crop improvement, with the approval of a useful product by the US Department of Agriculture, after careful consideration of the detailed information documents describing its properties.

The scientists initially focused on producing tomato juice rich in anthocyanins that could be tested in a clinical context in patients with cancer or cardiovascular disease. Now nothing stands in the way of producing a whole vegetable. The first step for NPS will be to sell your purple tomato seeds.

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