Wolfson scientists discover how to alter ripening of tomatoes

Published on
Tuesday 25 May 2021
Science & Technology

Dr Paul Jarvis together with Wolfson Alumna Dr Najiah Mohd. Sadali have discovered how the overall process of fruit ripening in tomatoes can be changed, which could potentially improve the shelf-life of fruit.

The production of fruit is a vital process for plants because it enables them to reproduce and thrive. One strategy that plants use to ensure that their fruit is successful, is to give them a colourful appearance to attract animals. In tomatoes, the fruit ripening process involves dramatic changes in tiny organelles inside the fruit cells called plastids, which are responsible for giving colour to the fruit.

This study found that we can speed up or slow down ripening by modifying the expression of these plastids. Significantly, the results published in Nature Plants provide a theoretical basis for the modification of the ripening of fleshy fruits such as tomato, providing opportunities for crop improvement.

Jarvis said, "It could be used to develop early or late fruiting varieties of fleshy fruits, or to improve the transportability or shelf-life of fruit by delaying ripening without compromising the quality of the ripe fruit.

Read the full paper, published in Nature Plants, here