Would you like a tomato that ripens faster? Oxford scientists know how to do it. They examined in detail the ripening process of the fruits in tomatoes. They found that it can be speeded up or slowed down. And they change the ripeness and color of the tomatoes. Some color in a special form?
They modified a protein found in subcellular organelles called plastids. This offers a new way to improve the harvest. Fruit production is an important process. It allows plants to multiply and thrive. One strategy that plants use to ensure their fruits are successful is to give them a colorful look. Thus, they are attractive to animals for seed dispersal.
In tomatoes, the ripening process of the fruit leads to dramatic changes in the plastids. These are the ones responsible for giving the fruit color. Little was known about how they participate in the maturation process.
The Oxford team has now discovered a role in fruits for a protein found in the plastids called SP1. What does the new find reveal? An important regulatory role in tomato fruit ripeness.
What does changing the ripeness and color of tomatoes achieve? It is explained by Professor Paul Jarvis from the Oxford Department of Plant Sciences. A statement said: “It could be used to develop early or late fruity varieties of fleshy fruit. Or to improve the portability or shelf life of the fruit by delaying ripening without affecting the quality of the ripe fruit. “
The work is based on the modification of the expression of the SP1 gene in transgenic tomato plants. Transgenic plants with low or high SP1 expression were examined in detail. Techniques include phenotyping, electron microscopy, gene expression analysis, and metabolomics.