Purple tomatoes

November 8, 2008

I mentioned the benefits of the Mediterranean diet for children with Asthma, and one of the main ingredients of that are tomatoes. However, not content with letting mother nature get on with it, scientists have grown genetically-engineered purple tomatoes in an attempt to promote healthy food. I wasn’t aware tomatoes were not already a healthy food, but you know these scientists, they can’t let a good thing alone.

The research was done at the John Innes Centre, a biotechnology institute in Norwich – and presumably grown in their own compost. They took two genes from the snapdragon flower (Antirrhinum majus) which gave them anthocyanin, the purple pigment that makes blackberries almost black. Anthocyanins can protect against certain cancers, heart and degenerative diseases, and may delay the development of inflammation, obesity and diabetes.

I may be wrong, but I think I grew purple tomatoes in my greenhouse around ten years ago – just for the colour as it turned out because the taste wasn’t that great. They were more black than purple and if anyone remembers them do let me know the variety and I will pass it on to the John Innes Centre to save them wasting any more time – and compost.


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