Friday, July 20, 2012


If you've ever been turned off, disgusted or appalled by a cut apple that has started to turn brown, cheer up!  Those friendly folks who brought you the bright red, tasteless tomato have worked their magic on apples.  

By inserting an extra copy of a gene that interferes with the enzymatic activity that causes browning - an enzyme called polyphenol oxidase - they have produced a fruit that can be sliced, diced, packaged in plastic and sold round the world to those purists who must have pristine apples.

This is not to be confused with those apple slices that are already available in the produce departments of your neighborhood supermarkets; these contain preservatives, such as ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) and calcium chloride.   Unfortunately they only (?) have a shelf life of about three weeks.  Now wouldn't you rather have a nice genetically modified apple that would mummify before it turned brown?

You know, an apple a day keeps the doctor away.  Wouldn't it be a hoot if they found out later on that what helps keep the doctor away is the enzyme they have managed to nullify?