GM apples

Science on the Land

When apple (Malus domestica) fruits are cut or bitten, we all know that the cut surfaces turn brown. To stop this happening, here’s a range of genetically modified (GM, genetically engineered, GE) apples called Arctic apples.

Ordinary apples turn brown when the fruit’s ‘phenolic’ compounds react with oxygen. We don’t want to lose phenolic compounds because, if we eat them with plenty of fats and carbohydrates, they’re good for our health. It’s one of the reasons why my grandparents’ generation learned, ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away.’

When apple surfaces turn brown, it’s because phenolics are oxidising (reacting with oxygen in the air.) This change is driven by an enzyme called polyphenol oxidase (PPO). So if you want to eat wholesome phenolics you’ll want to eat your apples before their cut surfaces turn brown. Every chef knows that you can delay the browning by…

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