We love the way that nutrition, supplements and things such as this progress here, but are some things just fine as they are and better left alone? Well, it seems that there may now be ways to genetically improve the nutritional value of some fruits without the need to introduce foreign genes of any sort. So what could this mean for the fruit and veg industry as a whole? Super bananas So what exactly does this mean… well the original banana we all know and love is high in carbs, low glycaemic index carbs meaning they are released into the body more slowly delivering a sustained release of energy. Furthermore, bananas are also high in potassium, magnesium and other electrolytes key to overall health and wellbeing. So what do these newly proposed ‘super bananas’ as they’re known have to offer that these regular bananas don’t? Well, it is thought that they will deliver all of the above as well as more vitamin A, but what makes them very interesting is the fact that they are not GMO, or genetically modified per se. Instead they are genetically edited, and there is every possibility that these genetically edited versions of fruit might actually replace the GMO options out there.
What is ‘genetic editing’?
Well, rather than introducing foreign genes into the fruits such is the process during genetic modification, the potential to amend, or edit the existing genes retains the fruits ‘natural’ specification. So rather than removing and replacing certain genes, and instead of adding new genes completely, the process of genetic editing enables us to make genetic tweaks in order to increase or decrease levels of certain natural ingredients that the plant cells were already programmed to make.
GEO : The next big term under the spotlight
GMO faced a lot criticism, some warranted and some less so, the fact is that playing around with nature is risky if done inappropriately. The next term to face the scrutiny of the public is GEO, or genetically edited organism, and for good reason as it’s sensible and right to question, it keeps people honest and true and let’s face it, it helps to avoid cataclysmic cock ups! So far though GEO has been greeted with some enthusiasm because of its potential to enable cultivators to develop crops with superior qualities, as well as potentially enabling them to enter countries which have so far been resistant to GMO produce. In other banana news… Chitosan, a substance that is generating a lot of interest from fruit producers because of its potential to delay the ripening process of fruit may be introduced into the UK in the coming months. The coating known as ‘hydrogel’ can be sprayed onto fruit in order to kill bacteria causes fruit to rot. Bananas in particular have the ability to overripe and bruise in no time at all, so this spray presented by Xihong Li, Ph.D. is a promising prospect. The report suggests that this spray may help bananas to last at least 12 days longer than before, so with the GEO and Chitosan developments coming to the fore, who knows what bananas and fruit we will be eating in the future!
Science Daily, (2014). Coming soon: Genetically edited 'super bananas' and other fruit? Retrieved 15th August, 2014, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140813131044.htm Science Daily, (2014). Good news for banana lovers: Help may be on the way to slow that rapid over-ripening. Retrieved 15th August, 2014, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140813131044.htm