Canned tomato soup: How genetic ‘profiling’ makes it tastier, healthier and safer—at a bargain price

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Over the past several years, billions of dollars have been poured into the ongoing research and development effort to improve the ingredients of this perennial favorite. But few would know it.

In 2012, scientists published the tomato’s genome, the culmination of an eight-year international project to sequence the fruit’s genetic blueprint. The tomato’s 30,000 genes determine its potential, with an effectively infinite possible combination of genes. Thanks to the power of modern computers and data analytics, plant breeders can use simulation and modeling to determine which of these combinations is most likely to produce the desired tomato characteristics.

This is about more than money. Precision agriculture conserves water, which is particularly important in California where 9 out of 10 tomatoes destined to appear in soup and like products are grown, and where fresh water is scarce. It also minimizes nitrogen use, which is better for the environment.

But the innovation doesn’t stop in the fields. DNA profiling has emerged as one of the most promising advances in food safety. Various DNA fingerprinting techniques allow for the identification of bacteria, mold, and fungus on fruit and processing equipment. Detection of contamination is critical to maintaining hygiene from the vine to the consumer.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: The shocking amount of science and tech that goes into a can of tomato soup

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