Norfolk Plant Sciences is responsible for this genetically modified tomato. While most probably assumed that the tomato would never make its way onto store shelves, we were wronger than we realize.
This may be surprising to some but the taste of these tomatoes is actually the exact same as the red ones that we are most accustomed to. No, they do not taste like grapes!
You are forgiven if you thought that because we honestly thought this at first, too. Norfolk Plant Sciences has more to say about these tomatoes, though. In an interview, they explain that it’s not just about coloration. The anthocyanins that are found in blueberries and blackberries are present here. These tomatoes also boast double the shelf life of their non-GMO counterparts, in case you were curious.
Biochemist Cathie Martin led the development of these tomatoes, if you were wondering who needed to be thanked for this process. Of course, this development was a long time coming, as Cathie applied the lessons that she had learned during her 20 years spent working in the world of flowers.
She has spent these decades focused on pigment production, making her the perfect scientist to lead up this project.
During her studies, Martin made a key discovery. Once she realized that certain pigments are able to increase antioxidant capacity, she was off and running. It was not long before she was taking a much closer look at the tomatoes that we already know and love. Martin went on to look at the tomato. Since they already possess a high level of anthocyanins, they were a perfect candidate for this alteration.
In fact, there are papers that were published as early as 2008 that provided some awesome findings in this regard. Cancer-prone mice were used for some studies, which found that these animals were able to live about 30 percent longer than their counterparts when offered purple tomatoes as part of their diets.
Now, the good folks at Norfolk Plant Sciences are in the process of figuring how they can make the Purple Tomato a common fixture in United States grocery stores.
If we are lucky, this process may be completed as soon as 2023. The GMO tomatoes already received USDA approval. The next step? Norfolk Plant Sciences will be seeking FDA approval.
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