Tomatoes could become more nutritious.Focus is on color to improve benefits.

  1. tomatoes could become more nutritious
    scientists focus on color to improve benefits

    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]the associated press
    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]updated: 9:53 a.m. et march 25, 2005

    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]wooster, ohio - research that has focused on making tomatoes disease resistant and easier to ship could also one day improve their taste and make them more nutritious, researchers say.

    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]at ohio state university, scientists are working with seeds from hundreds of tomato plants to learn more about how a tomato's color can improve its nutritional value.

    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]"their appearance may be uniform, but as you dive down deeper you find they are quite different," said david francis, who breeds tomato seeds. "one gene can make all the difference."

    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]jay scott, a breeder at the university of florida, has spent seven years studying how to improve flavor through taste tests and genetic analysis.

    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]scott said many factors influence taste, including the tomato's balance of sugar and acid. he said producers first want a tomato that resists diseases and ships easily.

    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]"i don't think anybody's against better flavor," scott said. "it's a question of can they do that and provide everything else."

    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]francis noted that breeding has created more diverse tomatoes, with most supermarkets today carrying grape, cherry, roma, beefsteak, cluster and hydroponic tomatoes.

    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]the research also has made tomatoes that are less expensive to produce and purchase.

    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]advances include tomatoes that ripen after they're picked, so they can survive on longer shipping routes; are firmer, to withstand bruising during shipment; and are more resistant to fungus and bacteria.

    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]the biggest complaint about the modern tomato is lack of taste. consumers say today's varieties are not as juicy or sweet and they sometimes blame the breeders.

    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]taste tests show that some new varieties rate better than heirloom tomatoes despite a popular opinion that older is better, scott said.

    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]"i'm not sure if the public has been dumbed down so much that they don't know what tomatoes are supposed to taste like," he said.

    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]the different shapes, colors and sizes created by breeding are mainly designed to catch the eye of the shopper, a development that has come at a time when tomato consumption has risen steadily in the last four decades.



    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]americans eat about 92 pounds of tomatoes annually in everything from ketchup to pasta sauces and salsa, according to a 2000 report from the u.s. department of agriculture report released in 2000. the report attributed the climb to interest in italian and mexican food and awareness of the tomato's health benefits.

    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]tomatoes are an excellent source of lycopene, which fights some types of cancers, including prostate cancer, and beta-carotene, or pro-vitamin a, which is important for the eyes.

    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]francis said not enough is known to say whether new varieties of tomato, such as the cherry tomato, are more or less nutritious.

    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]one way to develop a more nutritious tomato would be to solve what causes the fleshy part of some tomatoes to turn yellow, researchers say.

    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]ohio state student researcher audrey darrigues hopes the wild tomatoes in the university's greenhouse will provide a resistant gene that will ward off the color disorder.

    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]"color is a very important element in the tomato," she said.


    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]url: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7293850/

    -----i don't know about you guys, but i love to drizzle olive oil on french bread, tomatoes, feta cheese and bake @ 350 f.

    yummy.
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  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   Spidey's mom
    I love tomatoes too. I eat more veggies than fruit. But especially tomatoes.

    In the morning I eat one of those bagels with all the seeds and onions with swiss cheese melted and tomatoes and a slice of onion.

    I am a big fan of tomato gardens too . . . love walking among the cherry tomatoes and eating them warm.

    Anything that makes a better tomato in the winter is a good thing.

    steph
  4. by   Tweety
    Nothing tastes better than a homegrown beefsteak tomato fresh off the vine. hmmm........

    I love tomatoes and eat them frequently, both canned, juiced (V8) and fresh. I especially love tomatoes, olive oil and fresh mozzeralla cheese with fresh basil...(Caprese is what's it's called I think). JoAnn, that recipe sounds yummy.
  5. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I Iike those sun dried tomatoes in olive oil you can get at SAMS/COSTCO. I also love homegrown tomatoes, too. YUM. MY family will not eat them unless they are in my marinara sauce, sadly. SO growing them seems not to put a pun to it----fruitless. I can get tomatoes from gardening friends all summer long that I alone will eat.
  6. by   Spidey's mom
    Quote from SmilingBluEyes
    I Iike those sun dried tomatoes in olive oil you can get at SAMS/COSTCO. I also love homegrown tomatoes, too. YUM. MY family will not eat them unless they are in my marinara sauce, sadly. SO growing them seems not to put a pun to it----fruitless. I can get tomatoes from gardening friends all summer long that I alone will eat.
    Yum - love sundried tomatoes.

    steph
  7. by   URO-RN
    I don't know much about genetic engineering, but this sounds like a good idea for countries who's kids are becoming blind d/t the lack of Vitamin A.

    I know that here in the US, corn is now more nutrient rich.

    We desperately need to send good quality food to areas of the world who are suffer from preventable diseases.
  8. by   Mkue
    Quote from Tweety
    Nothing tastes better than a homegrown beefsteak tomato fresh off the vine. hmmm........
    You said it Tweety! I love them fresh off the vine..yummmmm with a little salt and pepper for me
  9. by   NRSKarenRN
    My Dad has already started his tomatoe seedlings. Transfers them to styrafoam ice chest as they get bigger so he can take em outside when warm, bring em in if too cool at time till time to plant in the garden. Best tasting tomatoes in the world. Fondly remember Mom packing them in my lunch can along with tiny Morton Salt shaker.
  10. by   webblarsk
    Nothing is better that fresh tomatos in the summer. I love to cut them up and mix with cottage cheese! I eat so many tomatos in the summer I get sores on my mouth. Although I must say I don't eat any tomatos in the winter. Just not any good!
  11. by   Spidey's mom
    Quote from webblarsk
    Nothing is better that fresh tomatos in the summer. I love to cut them up and mix with cottage cheese! I eat so many tomatos in the summer I get sores on my mouth. Although I must say I don't eat any tomatos in the winter. Just not any good!
    Sometimes the plum tomatoes are a decent alternative to no tomatoes. I can't have tacos w/o tomatoes, I can't eat a sandwich w/o tomatoes.

    steph

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