flavr savr

Topics: Tomato, Fruit, Tomato purée Pages: 2 (690 words) Published: October 19, 2013

1. ‘Conventional’ Tomato Production About seventy million tonnes of tomatoes were produced worldwide in 1993. Today's global food distribution system involves food being transported many miles and hours between producer, processor, retailer and consumer. It is important that ripe fruit and vegetables do not perish on the journey due to their soft skins. In the US, the problem is solved in conventional tomato-farming by picking tomatoes while they are still green and firm, transporting them, and then spraying them with ethylene (the natural ripening agent) to artificially ripen and redden them after the journey. 80% of American tomatoes are managed in this way. However, artificial ripening does not produce the flavour that the fruit has if left on the vine, and they are usually quite tasteless. 2. Development of the GM tomato and GM tomato puree Calgene, a small biotechnology company in California, decided to genetically modify a tomato that could be picked when ripe and transported without bruising. The tomato is relatively easy to modify genetically, and it was hoped that this experience of manipulating tomato ripening could be used for other fruit. Professor Don Grierson initiated a research group in the mid-seventies at the University of Nottingham in collaboration with Zeneca with this in mind. By late 1991, after ten years of development, Calgene had developed the Flavr Savr, a ‘delayed-ripening tomato’. They claimed it would have a longer shelf-life than conventional tomatoes and would provide processors and consumers with tastier tomatoes because the fruit had been left to mature on the vine. They had used antisense technology, a method of gene-silencing which interferes with the production of specific proteins in the plants. The biotechnology companies were very optimistic in the early nineties, believing that the supermarkets would soon be widely selling GM food. Calgene asked the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve the product who...
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