This is not the tomato in question
by Diana Bretting
Scientists said that they have invented a ‘super-tomato’ which can fight cancer, heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s. The makers of this unique tomato said it has high quantities of disease-fighting anti-oxidant plant chemicals.
According to the team of British scientists, who invented the tomatoes, just a single tomato they developed contains as much of the grape compound resveratrol as 50 bottles of red wine. On the other hand, another tomato produced the same amount of genistein, a soy bean compound.
Earlier studies have shown that resveratrol has potential to extend lifespan in animal studies, whereas genistein could help in prevention of some cancers, including breast cancer.
The study published in the journal Nature Communications said that the super-tomatoes contain a protein called AtMYB12, which is found in the garden weed thale cress. The researchers said when they introduced the proteins to the tomatoes they acted like opening a tap to boost levels of a group of anti-oxidants called phenylpropanoids which are made by plants.
Professor Cathie Martin from the John Innes Centre in Norwich said, “Our study provides a general tool for producing valuable phenylpropanoid compounds on an industrial scale in plants and potentially production of other products derived from aromatic amino acids”
Martin further said their work could be effectively used in a number of areas, including plant and microbe engineering, medicinal plant natural products, as well as diet and health research.
The researchers also hope that the similar technique can be used to manufacture other compounds that form the basis of many medicines.