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Monday, November 3, 2008

Purple tomato protects against cancer

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British scientists have developed a dark purple tomato genetically altered with snapdragon DNA. When infused with the two snapdragon genes, the eggplant-hued fruit produces large amounts of anthocyanins, which are red, blue or purple pigments occurring in dark berries.

Anthocyanins also act as a sort of sunscreen for plants, but most importantly, they are powerful antioxidants. In a test run, researchers fed cancer-susceptible mice powder from the tomato and discovered their life-span was significantly extended.

There is no guarantee that the tomato will have the same effect on humans, but this could be a new way of promoting medicinal uses through produce. The tomato's production of anthocyanins can be compared with those in blueberries and blackberries, the difference being that tomatoes are cheaper and more readily available to shoppers.

Read more about the purple tomato, at USAToday.

(Photo from Shawn Phillips of TimeForStrength.com)

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