By Mike Swain
Scientists claim they can stop tomatoes from going mushy on shop shelves.
They have found a way of slowing down the ripening of the fruit by up to 30 days. And they say the same genetic modifications could be extended to bananas and mangoes.
British supermarkets buy fruit and veg from around the world and need to keep them ripe long enough to be transported across the globe.
Half the crop in developing countries can be lost because the fruit goes. off before it can be sold.
India, the world’s second-largest producer, loses 35-40% of its produce because it goes mushy. Scientists have now targeted two enzymes involved in ripening tomatoes. By slowing down the effects they have extended the shelf life by 30 days.
Scientists at the National Institute of Plant Genome Research in New Delhi say the genetically engineered tomatoes retained their texture and firmness for 45 days – while unmodified tomatoes picked at the same time started going off after 15 days.
The results showed “a substantial improvement in fruit shelf life”.