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Patent for Syngenta melons that stay on vine longer

New melon plants whose fruit stays on the vine longer are the subject of a new patent for Syngenta Participations AG.

Melon plants with fruit that stays on the vine longer are the subject of a new patent for Syngenta Participations AG.

The melons produced have high total solids and/or firm flesh, the Swiss agri-business also says in patent documents published by the US Patent and Trademark Office under the title: “Inbred melon lines ME007 and ME009.“

Explaining the background to the invention, Syngenta said many cantaloupe varieties are climacteric, meaning ripening is associated with ethylene production, resulting in abscission (‘slip’) from the vine. “Climacteric fruits may abscise from the vine prior to optimal sugar deposition, which may adversely impact taste. Accordingly, it would be desirable to develop improved melon plants having improved taste, shelf life and/or shipping characteristics,” it said.

In a summary of the invention, Syngenta said that in representative embodiments, its invention provides “novel non-climacteric melon plants that produce fruit that are able to remain on the vine longer (i.e., they do not abscise or “slip” from the vine) than a climacteric melon, which may result in improved taste and/or sweetness.”

It also talked about representative embodiments where “the melon plants of the invention are characterized by two or more of these characteristics: non-climacteric fruit ripening, a fruit having a firm flesh and/or a fruit having high soluble solids.”

And it said that in further exemplary embodiments, “the melon plants of the invention are characterized by fruit having an enhanced sugar (e.g., sucrose) content and/or a sweeter taste and/or having a longer field shelf life and/or post-harvest shelf life.“

The patent was granted last November 4. Read about it here by clicking on ‘full text’.

Photo: a conventional melon and slice by Renee Comet via Wikimedia Commons.



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Patent applications reveal ways to improve tomato production



Various inventions promising improved tomato production are covered in patent applications recently published by the US Patent and Trademark Office. In this small sample we look at a vine tomato that stays firm longer, tomatoes with higher sugar content, and greenhouse lighting helping insects find – and thus pollinate – flowers more easily.

Vine tomato with longer shelf life

California’s Arcadia Biosciences seeks a patent for “tomatoes that soften more slowly post-harvest due to non-transgenic alterations in an expansin gene.” In its patent application it explains new tomato varieties are needed that have the desirable qualities of vine-ripened fruit (in taste, texture and colour) but reduced spoilage. However it also notes some consumers don’t like genetically modified foods.

It says it has a solution with its (non–GMO) method, which is the product of a human-induced mutation in a tomato gene – LeExp1 – linked to fruit softening.

Tomatoes with higher sugar content

Tomatoes with improved fruit quality, such as increased levels of starch, soluble solids, and/or sugars are described in an application from the governing board (Regents) of the University of California. It says the ripe fruit has sugar levels (fructose and glucose) at least 10% higher, usually at least 30% higher, than control plants.

The method for which the patent is being sought involves producing plants that deliver green fruit with increased chloroplast development. This is achieved via a rise in what is known as GLK (Golden2-like) activity in the green fruit and results in an increase in the products of photosynthesis and carbon fixation, such as starch and eventually soluble sugars, in ripe fruit.

Putting flowers in their best light

And from Finland comes an application for an invention using special lighting in greenhouses to enhance insect pollination of plants, such as the tomato.

Valoya, a Helsinki-based provider of energy efficient LED lights, says the best effect is achieved when the emission peaks of the lighting have a high reflectivity from flowers and/or high sensitivity in the insect vision. “The insects can see the flowers better, and therefore find them more easily, which increases the efficiency of pollination by the insects.”

It says the method reduces insect mortality and increases pollination efficiency and photosynthetic growth, thereby improving the productivity of the plant cultivation.


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United States a joint patent applicant for new fresh produce wash



A new antimicrobial wash for fresh fruit and vegetables that remains potent even when recycled is the subject of an international patent application by the United States of America jointly with the company Nature Seal.

An aqueous solution of hydrogen peroxide and one or more fruit acids, the wash is designed to reduce human pathogens, such as E.coli and salmonella, which are often culprits in food-borne illness.

According to the application recently published by the World Intellectual Property Organization, the best results are achieved if lactic acid is included in the wash.

The application also says it is essentially free of ingredients found in earlier antimicrobial compositions, such as peroxyacetic acid, surfactants, carboxylic acid esters and other solvents in addition to water. In particular, it is free of “alcohols, both monohydric and polyhydric, as well as other oxygenated organic solvents.”

Wash water can be recycled for multiple batches of fresh produce

Furthermore, it’s claimed the wash remains highly effective in reducing microbial contamination of wash water which is recycled for reuse with multiple batches of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Typically, antimicrobial washes are applied to fresh fruits and vegetables via methods such as direct spraying, misting, fogging, curtain coating and immersion, with the antimicrobial wash reused on many subsequent batches of produce, the application says.

While washing fresh produce with water alone is normally enough to remove pathogens from produce surfaces, problems can arise if the water is reused.

“This is because the microbes removed from fruit or vegetables remain in this wash water where they rapidly increase and then contaminate the second and subsequent fruit or vegetables treated with the same wash water. So, in order for an antimicrobial wash to be effective in such processes in terms of reducing microbial contamination of multiple batches of fresh fruit or vegetables, the antimicrobial wash needs to contain enough antimicrobial agents to reduce the microbial contamination of this wash water over time,” it says.

Read the application here.