Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Finding a way to extend tomato shelf-life

Date:
February 16, 2011
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
Tomatoes spend so much time on shelves and in refrigerators that an estimated 20 percent are lost to spoilage, according to the US Department of Agriculture. But scientists with USDA's Agricultural Research Service are working with colleagues at Purdue University to extend the shelf life of tomatoes. The research also may lead to tomatoes that taste better and are more nutritious.

In a Beltsville, Maryland, greenhouse, plant physiologist Autar Mattoo (center) points out features of a genetically improved tomato line to postdoctoral fellow Vijaya Shukla (left) and biological technician Joseph Sherren.
Credit: Photo by Stephen Ausmus

Tomatoes spend so much time on shelves and in refrigerators that an estimated 20 percent are lost to spoilage, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). But scientists with USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) are working with colleagues at Purdue University to extend the shelf life of tomatoes. The research also may lead to tomatoes that taste better and are more nutritious.

Related Articles


ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency, and the research results support the USDA priority of promoting international food security.

Autar Mattoo, a plant physiologist with the agency's Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory in Beltsville, Md., joined with Avtar Handa, a professor of horticulture at Purdue, and Savithri Nambeesan, a graduate student working with Handa, to focus on manipulating a class of nitrogen-based organic compounds known as "polyamines" that act as signals and play a role in the plant's growth, flowering, fruit development, ripening, and other functions. Polyamines also have been linked to the production of lycopene and other nutrients that lower the risks of certain cancers and other diseases.

The researchers wanted to see if they could increase levels of polyamines in tomatoes, and what the effects would be of any increases. They introduced a polyamine-producing yeast gene, known as spermidine synthase, into tomato plants to increase the production of a higher polyamine spermidine that is believed to modulate the plant ripening process.

The results, published in The Plant Journal, showed that introducing the gene not only increased spermidine levels and vegetative growth, but extended the tomato's post-harvest shelf life. Shriveling was delayed by up to three weeks, and there was a slower rate of decay caused by diseases. The tomatoes also had higher levels of lycopene. The study also shows for the first time that spermidine has its own effects independent of other polyamines, extending shelf life and increasing growth.

The use of molecular genetics to enhance tomatoes has faced resistance from the horticulture industry and food-processing companies. But scientists have used the approach to develop improved varieties of corn, soybeans, and cotton.

Read more about this research in the February 2011 issue of Agricultural Research magazine at: http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/feb11/tomato0211.htm


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. The original article was written by Dennis O'Brien. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Savithri Nambeesan, Tatsiana Datsenka, Mario G. Ferruzzi, Anish Malladi, Autar K. Mattoo, Avtar K. Handa. Overexpression of yeast spermidine synthase impacts ripening, senescence and decay symptoms in tomato. The Plant Journal, 2010; 63 (5): 836 DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2010.04286.x

Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Finding a way to extend tomato shelf-life." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110216110851.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2011, February 16). Finding a way to extend tomato shelf-life. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110216110851.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Finding a way to extend tomato shelf-life." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110216110851.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Hottest Food Trends for 2015

The Hottest Food Trends for 2015

Buzz60 (Dec. 17, 2014) Urbanspoon predicts whicg food trends will dominate the culinary scene in 2015. Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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