To reduce wastage, hybrid tomatoes are often bred to include natural mutations that slow the whole ripening process, but such longevity comes at a cost, in the form of flavour and colour.
The question of how the tomato fruit disassembles its cell walls and softens during ripening has perplexed researchers for over two decades, but [a new study] published in the journal Nature Biotechnology, has revealed the key to uncoupling softening from the other aspects of fruit quality.
. . . . the researchers have identified a gene that encodes a pectate lyase, which normally degrades the pectin in the tomato cell walls during ripening.
. . . .
Paul Fraser, Professor of Biochemistry . . . said: ‘The study also shows how you can precisely alter fruit ripening properties without adverse effects on the chemical composition of the fruit.
‘. . . traits such as taste, colour, and nutritional quality are not adversely affected and in some cases enhanced’.
The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Could we soon have tomatoes that never go soft? British scientists ‘turn off’ gene that makes fruit decay