Study pinpoints genes responsible for tomato’s distinctive taste & flavor

Agriculture scientists have successfully created tomatoes over the last few decades that have better shelf life and firmness and resistance to disease. However, the fruit has significantly lost its real taste and flavor while gaining those enhanced traits.

However, future grocer will likely hawk a tastier tomato as scientists have made a dive into the genetics of tomato flavor, identifying the chemical compounds responsible for giving a great tomato its distinctive sweet and earthy taste.

A team of scientists from University of Florida said that identification of the chemical compounds responsible for giving tomatoes their distinctive taste and flavor would help breeders produce tomatoes that would be hardy enough to survive the long journey from fields to kitchens without losing their real taste.

Prof. Denise Tieman, who led the study, “The real excitement of food is what you smell … When you chew, these aroma compounds get into your olfactory systems and that’s what really makes things taste good.”

Ann Powell, a retired tomato researcher from UC Davis, applauded the new research, saying it could help produce “great” tomatoes as it the community now knows the genes relevant for emphasizing the fruit’s flavor.

The identification of the genes responsible for giving tomatoes their distinctive sweet and earthy taste was described in a recent issue of the journal Science.