It is being promised that fruits and vegetables will be healthier, hardier, and even tastier, with the help of genetic modification. Of course, not everyone likes the idea of our favourite, daily meals being tampered with on a genetic level, but there are certainly some interesting things going on in this department.
Here are a few experiments that are happening right now, with the results still undetermined.
An ongoing experiment in Brazil is attempting to create a new strain of tomatoes. Namely, a tomato that is naturally spicy.
The idea came about due to the fact that tomatoes naturally contain the genes for capsaicin, otherwise known as the unique chemical that makes chillies spicy. Hopes are that these genes can be triggered, resulting in tomatoes that as spicy as a natural chilli.
However, the idea wouldn’t be to eat the spicy tomatoes, although this is probably an option. Instead, the hopes are that a large portion of chilli farming could be replaced by spicy tomato farming, given that tomatoes grow easily, and chillies do not.
A Hardier Banana
A disease referred to as fusarium wilt has been attacking banana plantations around the world, costing farmers a fortune. But if Tropic Biosciences has anything to say about it, the problem could be solved with a genetically modified fruit.
After securing a £7.5 million investment, the company has set about attempting to genetically engineer a strain of banana that is resistant to the disease, ultimately saving global banana farmers a great deal of money, and a great deal of stress.
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A sweeter strawberry sounds great, but how about one that tastes like a peach? Or, perhaps just eat a peach instead of a strawberry?
The infamous company Monsanto has what many would consider to be a questionable reputation, and for good reason. Either way, the company is now entering into full scale genetic food modification experiments, including strawberry variations that could completely defy what it possible in natural circumstances.
Of course, due to the ruling in the EU last year, any crops, or peach flavoured strawberries, created in this way will be subject to regulations.
Perhaps the most well-known genetically engineered fruit is the Arctic Apple. Otherwise known as the apple that doesn’t brown after it has been cut, keeping it looking more palatable. According to the manufacturers, the aim is to reduce food waste, since less apples will be thrown out, and they make the perfect snack otherwise.
Either way, this genetic wonder is only available in the United States at the moment, after it was officially approved by the local Food and Drug Administration department. It is yet to be approved in Europe, and even if it is approved, would require labelling as a food that has undergone genetic alteration.
Lastly we have the Rainbow Papaya. The most interesting thing about this fruit is that it has been around since 1992, and most aren’t even aware. The Rainbow Papaya is able to resist the extremely costly ring spot disease, and has saved Hawaiian farmers an estimated $11 million.