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A chemical genetic roadmap to improved tomato flavor

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Science  27 Jan 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6323, pp. 391-394
DOI: 10.1126/science.aal1556

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  • RE: strong selection is likely due to a negative correlation between fruit size and sugar content
    • Zdenek Smrčka, Information Research Specialist, University Hospital in Motol

    In Fig. 1F the authors show a strong negative correlation between [tomato] fruit weight and sugar content as a result of early and continued selection for larger fruit. Interestingly, the given correlation is similar to that of volume (weight) and of sphere (square size) of the ball as a geometric form. That is, surface of the 80 g tomato fruit is about 90 cm2, while surface of the 40 g fruit is about 56 cm2. Surely, tomato fruit becomes to ripe from green to red only after reaching its final size (volume), but lower sugar content in larger tomato fruit may be in general due to the lower size of its surface - as related to its volume - while being exposed to the same light dose in comparison to smaller fruit. Anyway, already in 1974, Salunkhe et al. (see below) concluded that in tomato fruits "...high sugar contents, redness of color, and firm texture are associated with prominence of rich flavor. " Furthermore, their review also discussed the topics of field ripened versus artificially ripened tomato fruits, as well as field versus greenhouse grown fruits of the same tomato cultivars, from the central point of flavor. So, the greenhouse tomatoes may represent an evolutionary adaptation to the altered environment which unfortunately have resulted in their poorer nutritional quality and acceptance.
    Literature: Salunkhe, D.K., Jadhav, S.J. & Yu, M.H.: Quality and nutritional composition of tomato fruit as influenced by certain biochemical and physio...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.