|Non Browning Apples|
Non Browning Apples to reduce food waste and increase consumption
Apples are a hugely popular fruit around the world and a major item in international trade. A considerable toll of waste results from the cosmetic defect of browning that occurs once the flesh is exposed to air. Biotech researchers have provided a solution that is now in the hands of consumers. Drop down for more...
Global apple production in 2014/15 was estimated at 71b million metric tonnes, led by China, followed by the US, Italy, and Chile (Apples Exports by Country, http://www.worldstopexports.com/apples-exports-by-country). Unfortunately, data suggest that as much as 40% of all apples grown are never eaten, but are wasted (Tesco says almost 30,000 tonnes of food 'wasted', http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-24603008).
The principal cause of this waste is a phenomenon called "browning". Apples contain an enzyme, polyphenol oxidase (PPO). This enzyme doesn't seem to have any useful function in apples, and biotechnology researchers developed a method of turning off its production with a technique known as "gene silencing" (How'd we "make" a nonbrowning apple?, https://www.arcticapples.com/how-did-we-make-nonbrowning-apple). We are comfortably familiar with similar "PPO null" traits from golden raisins, or sultanas (An apple a day..., https://itif.org/publications/2017/01/24/an-apple-day).
After years of development and field testing by a small Canadian company, non browning apples reached the market in 2017, and production is rapidly scaling up to meet demand (Say Hello To The Apple That Never Browns, https://www.buzzfeed.com/stephaniemlee/uncommon-core; Genetically modified apple reaches US stores, but will consumers bite?, https://www.nature.com/news/genetically-modified-apple-reaches-us-stores-but-will-consumers-bite-1.22969). With any luck, this will help reduce food waste while spurring increased consumption of a healthy, safe, nutritious and tasty favorite (Slicing into food waste with Arctic(r) apples, https://www.arcticapples.com/slicing-into-food-waste-with-arctic-apples).