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Tomato breeding promotes poor flavor.

Seven decades of selectively breeding tomatoes for better color in their unripe forms has taken its toll in the form of inadvertently creating that wet paper-towel taste found in modern tomatoes.

Biochemist Ann L. Thomas Powell of the University of California at Davis explains how growers care about the green of unripe tomatoes. Ripening tomatoes that are uniformly green let growers know when the field is ready for harvesting. For decades, farmers have repeatedly selected tomatoes that ripen uniformly over ones that ripen at the base of the stem first. The problem occurs when farmers select the uniformly ripening tomato over the ones that ripen at the base of the stem (also referred to as having "green shoulders"), they sabotage the gene SlGLK2, which boosts sugar and other sources of flavor in the ripe tomato.

The volatile compounds that waft from a tomato are also at risk. These scents enhance the appeal of the fruit, and inadequate chloroplasts do not produce as much of the chemical precursors required for some of those compounds. Exactly how the loss of the green shoulders trait could affect the flavor of tomatoes remains to be determined.

(Source: Science, June 29, 2012.)
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Publication:Nutrition Health Review
Date:Dec 22, 2011
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