Tomatoes from the supermarket usually taste bland

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Bland taste of tomatoes from the supermarket

Tomatoes from the supermarket look appealingly red, but they often taste bland. US researchers have now found out why the tomatoes do not really taste good. A gene responsible for the beautiful red color of the tomatoes also destroys the taste. Many growers manipulated the color of the tomatoes until the typical tomato taste was completely lost.

Destroyed gene is responsible for the taste loss of the tomatoes
Visually, tomatoes from the supermarket offer everything the customer wants. They are well-shaped and bright red. But the taste leaves something to be desired. But how did the loss of taste come about? Biochemists led by Ann Powell from the University of California investigated this question. They published their results in the journal "Science".

According to the scientists, the tomatoes have been genetically reprogrammed to look perfect and turn a flawless red. However, the taste fell by the wayside. A gene that is responsible for the formation of the flavors was destroyed in the effort to create the optically perfect tomato. The affected gene is usually involved in the increased formation of chloroblasts, which give immature tomatoes their green color and produce sugar and carotenoids. During the ripening of the tomatoes, the gene also means that the tomato does not turn completely red, so that a green area often remains at the base of the stem.

For more than 70 years, growers have been trying to produce a uniform red color for the tomatoes. The discerning customer is said to want a perfect product. Although tomatoes are now flawless and uniformly red due to the genetic reprogramming, the taste gene was also destroyed at the same time.

Even more genetic changes in tomatoes The scientists now want to genetically modify tomatoes so that they are both tasty and visually appealing. It remains to be seen whether the project will succeed. Many consumers would probably prefer to return to the original, non-genetically modified tomato, even if it does not have a flawless appearance. However, since genetic research in the food industry has become indispensable, every type of fruit and vegetable will continue to look perfect. Consumers who reject the genetic changes in food can only use organically produced products. (ag)

Image: Rainer Sturm /

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