University of Nottingham scientists have created a formula for a tomato which can last weeks longer on supermarket shelves. Their findings claim to have found a genetically modified way to stop tomatoes going soft but still ripening, which they have hailed as a major breakthrough. “To support the tomato industry and further improve consumer satisfaction with new tomato varieties, a major scientific goal has been to identify genes that allow the targeted control of fruit softening without impacting other aspects of ripening,” said Graham Seymour, professor of plant biotechnology. “Such work would permit excellent fruit flavour and colour development, combined with enhanced shelf life.” University researchers said that, until now, the precise way tomatoes soften has remained a mystery.
Seymour and his team identified a gene that they can “turn off” in the tomato, a fruit with a £38 billion annual global market.