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These Purple Tomatoes are a BE Superfood

Amanda Zulyucki, who blogs at The Farmer Daughter USA, has a new blog post out highlighting the benefits of the new GM purple tomato which was recently approved and should be reaching markets next year:

My favorite new crops are those genetically modified to include consumer-oriented benefits! Norfolk Plant Sciences’ purple tomatoes fit the bill. With a couple swaps of genetic material, these purple tomatoes turn a deep purple when ripe. Why? Because they’re loaded with good-for-you antioxidants and anthocyanins.

The Purple Good Stuff

Scientists created these purple tomatoes by inserting two genes from snapdragons into domesticated varieties of tomatoes. Tomatoes already have the biological capability to make antioxidants, though it’s usually limited to the plant’s stems. The snapdragon genes inserted by into the purple tomatoes activate the process of producing antioxidants for the fruit itself (sounds very similar to Artic Apples, which were engineered to turn off the browning mechanism). The tomato varieties chosen for modification include those with good production, yield, and flavor. The result is a tomato with dark-purple flesh and meat.

If you don’t know, antioxidants are substances that scientists believe protect our cells against free radicals, which may play a role in heart disease, cancer, and other  diseases. Anthocyanins are water-soluble pigments associated with similar health benefits.

Please visit her blog to learn more about these new tomatoes coming soon!