Tomatoes with high flavour and aroma impact to hit the market?
soon enjoy tomatoes that pack a fuller flavour punch as Israeli
biotech start-up Evogene links up with the Hebrew University of
Jerusalem to jointly develop tomato varieties with improved taste
and high impact aroma.
The collaboration, say the researchers, is based on Evogene's proprietary tomato genomics database, the "rich gene pool of tomato and the genetics and breeding capabilities" at the agriculture department of the university.
The team claim that over the years, society's aim to boost tomato yields has been to the detriment of the original taste and aroma.
The new effort is "directed at isolating genomic markers that can track key taste and aroma genes for use in breeding programs."
The partners will use the new markers developed during the study as tools to improve tomato varieties.
"The access to the extensive tomato germplasm and the multi-year breeding experience of The Faculty of Agriculture is the perfect complement to quickly create value via our advanced gene and marker discovery tools," says Dr Hagai Karchi of Evogene.
Tomatoes are packed with the health-promoting antioxidant lycopene, a carotenoid attracting growing attention in recent years due to research linking it to reduction in cancer risk, especially prostate cancer.
New findings also suggest that it could have a protective effect on heart disease, the cause of more deaths among women than any other disease.
A recent report on the $348.5 million (€291.4m) carotenoid market from market analysts Frost & Sullivan revealed that the European food and health industry has 'under-utilised' the nutraceutical properties of carotenoids, and consumers are still unaware of their health benefits.