Biotech apples push toward marketplace
There is a line of argument that says biotechnology will appeal more to food consumers when biotechnology begins to deliver traits that consumers find to be particularly useful. Keep an eye on Arctic Apples to see if the argument carries. The apples have been genetically modified to prevent enzymatic browning, that brown discoloring we’ve all seen on cut or damaged apples.
USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has opened its review for public comment on Arctic Granny and Arctic Golden apples. The comment period will close on Sept. 11, 2012. The apples are from British Columbia-based Okanagan Specialty Fruits.
A second U.S. comment period is expected to open approximately six months following the closure of the first comment period.
The company points to 10 years of research and tree growing to show their apples and trees are safe.
According to the company, “Arctic Apples use gene silencing to suppress the apple’s expression of polyphenol oxidase, the enzyme involved in browning when the fruit is bruised, bitten or cut. This virtually eliminates PPO production, so in turn the fruit doesn’t brown.”
If the apples pass the regulatory hurdles, we’ll watch with interest to see if consumers find value enough in the new apples to make them a marketplace success.