How farmers and scientists think about our food.

  • By Emma Woollagott
  • Business reporter technology

8 hours ago

Picture credits, Valeria neccio

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Franco Fubini, founder of the fruit and vegetable supplier Natura

Franco Fubini, founder of the fruit and vegetable supplier Natura, states: “Taste is undoubtedly a recurring trend.

You will be surprised that taste is out of fashion.

However, due to the demands of supermarkets, it can be difficult to find really tasty fruits and vegetables, he explains.

“They needed longer lasting varieties. For example, a tomato had to have a thick skin so that it wouldn’t split easily; Tomatoes could ripen faster because they are more water-absorbent.

“Over time, you choose your varieties based on properties other than taste. The taste property begins to lose relevance, and if you choose other properties, as nature wishes, the taste will disappear. “

Mr. Fubini’s company specializes in seasonal products selected according to their tastes and sells its products to quality restaurants and shops around the world.

“Part of this renaissance is coming from restaurants because chefs are a big influence,” he says. “Both that and the trip started this renaissance of taste, the search for taste.”

Breeders and researchers are at the forefront of this research, using sophisticated techniques to produce fruits and vegetables in all flavors of traditional varieties – which all supermarkets are delighted with.

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Harry Glee uses tomatoes to understand the chemical and genetic makeup of fruits and vegetables.

Harry Glee, Professor of Horticultural Science at the University of Florida, focuses on tomatoes and works to understand the chemical and genetic makeup of fruit and vegetable flavors.

“Tomato is a long-term model system for fruit growth. It has a short generation time, and great genetic resources [est] The most important economic crop in the world.

“Only the second plant species that receives a complete sequence of its genes – a great help in studying the genetics of an organism.”

The taste of plants is a complex phenomenon. In the case of tomatoes, it is the result of interactions between a dozen volatile compounds from sugars, acids and amino acids, fatty acids and carotenoids.

Professor Glee wants to identify genes that control the synthesis of volatile compounds and turn them into tasty tomatoes.

“We’re not in the final stages of combining advanced flavors into a single line, but we hope to be able to do that within a year,” he says.

Genetic modification (GM) can improve taste by importing genes from other species, but products made this way are banned in most countries around the world.

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Uses Pairwise gene editing technology to create new plant varieties like raspberries.

However, other genetic manipulations are generally accepted. The American company Pairwise is working on new types of fruit and vegetables using CRISPR gene editing technology licensed by Harvard, Brad and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Like GMOs, CRISPR involves mutating genes within a plant rather than taking them from other organisms.

“We make very small changes to a piece or two of DNA,” said Heaven Baker, co-founder of FireWire.

Such genetic changes are considered “non-genetic” in most countries in North America, South America, and Japan. In Europe, where genetic modifications are highly controversial, however, it is considered genetically modified and is subject to strict controls.

After leaving the EU, the UK discussed the use of genetic editing to modify livestock and food crops in the UK.

Even in the United States, where feedback is low, some farmers are suspicious of genetic changes.

“We’re not fans of it. Although sometimes well-managed innovation can work, we believe in tradition, not necessarily in things – and in a return to nature and nature. That’s how it works, ”says Fubini.

However, some findings can be very difficult without intervention at the genetic level.

One of Pairwise’s first products in a couple of years will be seedless blackberry, which the company claims gives it a more even flavor than traditional varieties. The company works on stone-free cherries.

All of this can be achieved through traditional breeding techniques, but since fruit trees take many years to mature, this can be a very long-term plan.

“Some of the fruits that interest us, cherries without a cherry-like core, can theoretically be obtained by choice, but it takes 100 to 150 years,” says Baker.

“The products that we want to manufacture and that consumers want do not reach the regular selection during our lifetime. It’s very slow. “

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The Seed Supplier Series 7 has 150 cooks who advise on plants such as badger beet.

Some actors in agriculture combine old and new techniques. Row 7, an American company specializing in organic seeds, conducts breeding projects to create new and tasty products.

Its seed suppliers use traditional cross-pollination techniques and genetic selection – the ability to study molecular genetic markers throughout the plant genome – to predict taste traits with reasonable accuracy.

In addition, she has a network of 150 chefs and farmers who rate her work.

“This community rates the guys who are still developing and gives their feedback on their skills in the field and in the kitchen,” said Charlotte Douglas, COO.

One of its main products is badger beet, which was eaten raw and sweet without soil.

“This category would have been lost if chefs and farmers had not admitted it. It broadens our understanding of what a beat is and opens up new avenues for research, ”said Douglas.

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The strong taste of kale is too strong for some: the cabbage may soon taste like salad.

Some plants can have an inappropriate taste. Take kale, for example. Although this green leaf is nutritious, its strong taste can be delayed.

Mr. Baker and his team work in a cute, pleasant factory in Pairwise.

“Kale is very nutritious, but people don’t like to eat it. So we used genetic engineering to produce more nutritious leafy green vegetables, but they taste just like the old spinach we used to have, ”he explains.

With kale, a strong taste is considered a negative, but in general, taste goes hand in hand with diet.

“The choice of taste means the choice of enjoyment; the choice of diet usually means that if you have a complex taste, you also choose the concentration of the nutrients, ”says Ms. Douglas.

“That means choosing biological systems – the kind of agriculture that produces the most delicious plants; Selection for the greatest variety. ”Nt.