Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Purple Tomatoes, Rich In Health-Protecting Anthocyanins, Developed With Help Of Snapdragons

Date:
October 27, 2008
Source:
Norwich BioScience Institutes
Summary:
Scientists have expressed genes from snapdragon in tomatoes to grow purple tomatoes high in health-protecting anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are naturally occurring pigments found at particularly high levels in berries such as blackberry, cranberry and chokeberry. Scientists are investigating ways to increase the levels of health-promoting compounds in more commonly eaten fruits and vegetables.

Purple, high anthocyanin tomatoes and red wild-type tomatoes.
Credit: John Innes Centre

Scientists have expressed genes from snapdragon in tomatoes to grow purple tomatoes high in health-protecting anthocyanins.

Anthocyanins are naturally occurring pigments found at particularly high levels in berries such as blackberry, cranberry and chokeberry. Scientists are investigating ways to increase the levels of health-promoting compounds in more commonly eaten fruits and vegetables.

"Most people do not eat 5 portions of fruits and vegetables a day, but they can get more benefit from those they do eat if common fruit and veg can be developed that are higher in bioactive compounds," says Prof Cathie Martin from the John Innes Centre.

Anthocyanins offer protection against certain cancers, cardiovascular disease and age-related degenerative diseases. There is evidence that anthocyanins also have anti-inflammatory activity, promote visual acuity and hinder obesity and diabetes.

Tomatoes already contain high levels of the antioxidant lycopene. Highly processed tomatoes are the best source, or tomatoes cooked in a little oil, which helps to release the lycopene from cells. Flavonoids meanwhile are soluble in water, and foods containing both water soluble and fat-dissolved antioxidants are considered to offer the best protection against disease.

In this study the scientists expressed two genes from snapdragon that induce the production of anthocyanins in snapdragon flowers. The genes were turned on in tomato fruit. Anthocyanins accumulated in tomatoes at higher levels than anything previously reported for metabolic engineering in both the peel and flesh of the fruit. The fruit are an intense purple colour.

The scientists tested whether these elevated levels actually had an effect on health. In a pilot test, the lifespan of cancer-susceptible mice was significantly extended when their diet was supplemented with the purple tomatoes compared to supplementation with normal red tomatoes.

"This is one of the first examples of metabolic engineering that offers the potential to promote health through diet by reducing the impact of chronic disease," says Professor Cathie Martin.

"And certainly the first example of a GMO with a trait that really offers a potential benefit for all consumers. The next step will be to take the preclinical data forward to human studies with volunteers to see if we can promote health through dietary preventive medicine strategies."

The research was funded by the EU and by JIC's core strategic grant from Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Norwich BioScience Institutes. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Enrichment of tomato fruit with health-promoting anthocyanins by expression of select transcription factors. Nature Biotechnology, October 26, 2008 DOI: 10.1038/nbt.1506

Cite This Page:

Norwich BioScience Institutes. "Purple Tomatoes, Rich In Health-Protecting Anthocyanins, Developed With Help Of Snapdragons." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 October 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081026150149.htm>.
Norwich BioScience Institutes. (2008, October 27). Purple Tomatoes, Rich In Health-Protecting Anthocyanins, Developed With Help Of Snapdragons. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081026150149.htm
Norwich BioScience Institutes. "Purple Tomatoes, Rich In Health-Protecting Anthocyanins, Developed With Help Of Snapdragons." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081026150149.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

AP (Sep. 20, 2014) The San Diego Zoo has welcomed two Cheetah cubs to its Safari Park. The nearly three-week-old female cubs are being hand fed and are receiving around the clock care. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins