An avocado that remains green after cutting

Wed 28/06/2023 by Richard Wilkinson

Scientists have found a way to prevent avocados turning black after cutting. Using a revolutionary gene-editing technique based on the CRISPR tool, the group has managed to turn off the gene that drives oxidation after the avocado is cut and its inside comes into contact with the air. It is hoped that this will lead to lower food waste.

According to FAO estimates, more than 40% of the vegetables we buy at the fair or supermarket end up in the trash. There are many reasons for this, but the most common is the decomposition produced by oxidation. The avocado is one of them as its browning process starts just a couple of hours after it’s opened its inside comes into contact with oxygen.

GreenVenus, a biotechnology company specialising in genetic engineering, announced that its scientists had successfully edited a key gene associated with fruit darkening, opening up new possibilities to produce higher-quality fruit that doesn’t turn brown. GreenVenus researchers took on the challenge of addressing this issue by harnessing the power of the gene-editing tool known as CRISPR and successfully created multiple lines of avocados with increased resistance to browning by “knocking out” a key gene, that of the major polyphenol oxidase (PPO) enzyme.

“Solving the challenge of editing avocados and regenerating them from single cells required some unique solutions, and we’re pleased to announce that we now have a method that works across key commercial varieties,” said Walter Viss, vice president of cell biology and strategy at GreenVenus. “Browning-resistant avocados would reduce waste and improve post-harvest shelf life, giving farmers and distributors wider windows to sell the fruit. In addition, consumers can enjoy the same great taste and nutritional benefits of avocados without worrying about browning, making it easier to incorporate this healthy and versatile fruit into their daily lives.”

“These advances in gene editing in highly consumed fruits that are so important to our consumption habits as avocados are significant biotechnological achievements that provide direct benefits to consumers. A few weeks ago, a similar technological advance was announced in bananas whose oxidation process is as fast as that of avocados. In this way biotechnology and gene editing are directly contributing to reducing food waste,” said Miguel Angel Sanchez, CEO of ChileBio.


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