Researchers in Delhi at the National Institute of Plant Genome Research have developed a tomato that has a shelf-life of 45 days. A. Datta and S. Chakraborty with co-workers report in the paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that they identified the ripening-specifics enzymes and silenced those genes through RNA interference.
India is the second largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world and about 40% of the produce is lost because of excessive softening. This is particularly important problem in India because of poor infrastructure such as bad roads and lack of refrigeration which exacerbates the damage due to shipping and handling. The results of this research may be applied to mangoes, papayas and bananas and thus be of great significance to the agriculture industry which forms the backbone of the Indian economy.
During a time when genetically modified vegetables such as BT brinjal, are at the forefront of national consciousness, these researchers believe that there will be no objects to these tomatoes because there is no alien gene that has been introduced in the vegetable. The review process could be completed in as little as two years.
Meli, V., Ghosh, S., Prabha, T., Chakraborty, N., Chakraborty, S., & Datta, A. (2010). Enhancement of fruit shelf life by suppressing N-glycan processing enzymes Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107 (6), 2413-2418 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0909329107
The writer is a Science and Technology Editor at Youth Ki Awaaz