Produce choices may become more attractive, thanks to new breeding technologies that have the potential to enhance the shape, size, color, and health benefits of fruits and vegetables.
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“Consumers are drawn to varieties that have novel shapes and colors, and they are more likely to repeatedly buy fruits and vegetables that they know taste good,” says Andrew Allan, PhD, BSc, principal scientist, Plant and Food Research, and professor, University of Auckland, New Zealand, who co-authored a July 19 article in the journal Trends in Plant Science that reviewed new plant breeding technologies. “People will live longer, healthier lives by eating more fresh fruit and vegetables.”
In commenting on the new breeding technologies, Mark Guiltinan, professor of plant molecular biology, Department of Plant Science, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pa., says improving produce’s health benefits is important. “Many people worldwide suffer from malnutrition and lack of micronutrients, which can cause developmental defects—especially in children,” Guiltinan says. “This can lead to lifelong problems such as physical impairment, susceptibility to numerous diseases, reduced mental capacity, and early mortality.”
Guiltinan says it’s interesting to develop new produce varieties with attractive colors and shapes, but adds that a more pressing need is to improve traits that could lead to more sustainable food production such as disease resistance, drought and heat tolerance, and nutrient efficiency.
About Karen Appold
Karen Appold is an award-winning journalist based in Lehigh Valley, Pa. She has a BA in English (writing) from Penn State University and has more than 20 years of editorial experience. Karen has been a full-time freelance medical writer and editor since 2003. She works for various medical organizations, businesses, and media. Karen has also worked in a variety capacities, including newspaper reporter, editor of a daily newspaper, and editor of a monthly magazine. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.