February 16, 2011
BELTSVILLE, Md.New research published in The Plant Journal suggests increasing polyamines in tomatoes extends their post-harvest shelf life by up to three weeks and may contribute to producing a more nutritious and better tasting product.
Scientists at USDAs Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and Purdue University 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 revealed introducing the gene not only increased spermidine levels and vegetative growth, but extended the tomatos 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 showed that spermidine has its own effects independent of other polyamines, extending shelf life and increasing growth.
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