Tomatoes and Potatoes Genetically Modified to Produce Health-Promoting Pigments

Betalains, plant pigments responsible for the characteristic red-violet or yellow color of certain fruits and vegetables, have recently been found to have strong antioxidant potential, making them potential candidates to produce health foods and combat various diseases. While betalains are only produced in certain plants, a research team from Tokyo University of Science and Iwate Biotechnology Research Center successfully genetically modified potato and tomato plants to produce betacyanin, which has shown therapeutic efficacy against murine models of colitis and inflammation-inducing macrophages. The transgenic tomato extracts were found to have substantial health-promoting effects, potentially leading to the widespread use of recombinant plants in Japan as health foods.


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