Founded many years ago by Professors Jonathan Jones and Kathy Martin Norfolk Plant Sciences As the UK GM Crop Company.
Their goal was to find ways to commercialize their plant research with higher levels of health-promoting compounds such as antioxidants, and in the process they developed purple flesh tomato which became its main product.
These tomatoes were genetically modified to contain high levels of antioxidants and anthocyanins., Now they are closer to reaching the US market thanks to recent approval from the United States Department of Agriculture.
Although the taste is indistinguishable from traditional red tomatoes, Norfolk Plant Sciences states that purple tomatoes contain more anthocyanins, a compound found in Blueberries and blackberries, and also doubles the shelf life of their non-GMO counterparts.
This is a project in which the biochemist Martin has put into practice the experience gained over his 20 years of work in the production of pigments in flowers. Discovering that certain pigments may increase antioxidant capacity, Martin looked at tomatoes, which already contain high levels of anthocyanins.
According to the British company, independent studies show that Antioxidants and anthocyanins may reduce the incidence of cancer, improve heart function, and improve health and wellness, and may even help ward off irritable bowel syndrome.
But although purple-skinned tomato varieties already existed, they did not accumulate useful levels of these compounds within the fruit, so they turned to genetics to come up with a better variety.
This week Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the United States Department of Agriculture It has been determined that this tomato, modified to change its color and improve its nutritional quality, is not likely to present an increased risk to its plant compared to other cultivated tomatoes and therefore it not subject to regulation.
This means that from a plant pest risk perspective, this plant can be safely grown and used for breeding in the United States.
However, for purple tomatoes to finally reach U.S. grocery stores starting in 2023, Norfolk Plant Sciences will first need to obtain FDA approval.