By Michael de Laine, The Copenhagen Voice, 10 October 2009
Tomatoes are red, right?
Well, a purple or aubergine-coloured tomato was recently developed by researchers, who took genes from the snapdragon, an ornamental flower. These genes were involved in the flower's production of anthocyanins – naturally occurring pigments ubiquitously present in plants and part of the human diet. The genes coloured the tomatoes purple.
Anthocyanins have beneficial health effects but are not found in some important crop plants such as tomatoes. Anthocyanin-enriched tomatoes have prolonged the life of cancer-susceptible mice, suggesting they have additional health-promoting effects.
Chrysanthemums have also been enriched with anthocyanins – changing their colour.
Dale Shelton, a post-doctorate scientist at the Department of Plant Biology and Biotechnology at the University of Copenhagen's Faculty of Life Sciences told The Copenhagen Voice more about these tomatoes during the Copenhagen 'Kulturnat' night of cultural activities yesterday.
David B Collinge, a professor at the same department, discussed the bad and good sides of rotting fruit – why we shouldn't eat rotting fruit, but what we can learn from the process, and how we can use it for our benefit.