British GM purple tomatoes take off in Canada
A Canadian company has now grown enough genetically modified (GM) purple tomatoes to produce 2,000 liters of juice, with plans to start regulatory procedures to bring the new product to the North American market.
The tomatoes developed by John Innes Centre (JIC) scientists in the U.K. are grown in a 5,000 square-foot glasshouse run by New Energy Farms.
A JIC release highlighted the high anthocyanin levels of purple tomatoes given their pigment, which is a compound found in high doses in blueberries, blackberries and a recently released "super plum" in Australia.
"We want to explore a way for consumers to benefit from our discoveries, as we are finding there is a demand for the added health benefits," said JIC professor Cathie Martin.
The juice will also be used to start new research aimed at attracting interest from private investors, particularly into the effects of an anthocyanin-rich diet on cancer, cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases.
New Energy Farms CEO Paul Carver said his company's position in Canada was quite strong.
"The regulatory process and a vibrant market make a product like this globally competitive," he said.
"In the future, more products like this with high-levels of compounds for human health will become available and on a much larger scale.
"The most amazing thing is the potential to supply an expensive compound from nature more economically to large markets for food, livestock feed, cosmetics, food colourings and even pharmaceuticals."