Purple Super Tomato....Could It Beat Cancer?
A super tomato eh? It looks like a cross between an orange and a black pudding
This genetically modified purple 'super tomato' could be the latest weapon in the fight against cancer.
Ok, 'genetically modified' I hear you gasp. Yes, there is a lot of controversy, debate and public resistance on the whole issue...but if there is a big positive on the health side, then it's worth our attention.
How is it produced?
Simple. It has been given two genes from a snapdragon flower using a specially adapted bacteria that produces the dark colour. It actually tastes and smells like a normal
The distinctive hue is created by antioxidant pigments that fight
helping to protect against diseases including heart problems,
The super-tomato is developed by the John Innes Centre in Norwich, UK. It contains high concentrations of anthocyanins...pigments found in
It claims that one tomato contained the same anthocyanins as a spoonful of cranberries.
So what are anthocyanins?
Well, they are chemicals called flavonoids, and they 'mop up' potentially harmful oxygen molecules in the body. Although anthocyanins are produced naturally by tomato plants, they are normally only found in the leaves.
The John Innes Centre theorise that most people do not eat five portions of fruit and veg a day, however they can get more benefit from those they do eat if common fruit and veg can be developed that are higher in nutrients.
It's worth noting that scientists found that mice bred to be vunerable to cancer actually lived longer when fed GM tomatoes. They now hope to test the effects on men at risk of prostate cancer.
Footnote: Critics warned, however, that any seeds from a GM tomato could produce unexpected effects on the environment. We shall see.
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