Extended shelf-life tomatoes: Arcadia and Shriram reach milestone

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23 Jul 2018 --- Arcadia Biosciences, Inc., an agricultural food ingredient company, and Shriram Bioseed, a leading research and hybrid seed development company, have announced the achievement of a key milestone in developing extended shelf life (ESL) tomatoes. Bioseed has field tested Arcadia’s ESL technology in multiple tomato hybrid backgrounds in multiple locations and seasons. Significant and consistent improvements in field yield and fruit quality, such as firmness, shelf-life and color development, were observed. These new hybrids are in the pre-commercial, wide area field testing stage with anticipated launch in 2019.

Because of their perishable nature, many harvested fresh fruits and vegetables spoil and become food waste instead of being consumed. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, in the US alone, food waste costs households an estimated US$166 billion annually, and tomato food waste costs households US$2.3 billion annually. These numbers are small compared to the lost value in the supply chain worldwide. An estimated 20 to 35 percent of tomatoes on average are lost to post-harvest damage in Asia. As the fourth largest producer of tomatoes globally, India represents a significant market opportunity for ESL tomato technology.

Using a non-GM advanced screening and breeding technique called TILLING, Arcadia identified genetic variations that allow tomatoes to fully ripen on the vine, yet still remain durable enough to survive the packing and shipping process.

“These new varieties will reduce waste and spoilage in the production cycle while ensuring that the produce is fully ripe, better tasting, and still fresh when it reaches consumers,” said Raj Ketkar, president and CEO of Arcadia. “This development is a significant commercial milestone in advancing Arcadia’s ESL tomato technology that adds value throughout the tomato supply chain, from farm to consumers.”

“This trait is especially valuable in a country like India where fresh market tomatoes are mostly field grown and post-harvest handling and logistics are challenging,” said Paresh Verma, president of Bioseed Southeast Asia and research director for Shriram Bioseed. “Besides reducing post-harvest losses, extended shelf-life and improved field holding capacity of tomatoes will add tremendous value for farmers and other stakeholders in supply chain.”

Arcadia’s ESL technology was developed in part under a US Department of Defense contract to develop longer-lasting fresh produce for field troops stationed in remote locations. Arcadia received a patent for the technology in 2014.

Arcadia Biosciences is a highly innovative agricultural food ingredient company, that recently announced plans to add its new reduced gluten (RG) wheat lines to its GoodWheat portfolio of branded ingredients. The company expects to have its first RG bread wheat flour available for commercial testing by the end of the year. Arcadia also recently achieved two key technology milestones in its High Fiber Resistant Starch (RS) Wheat program. The company has developed non-GM wheat varieties that contain up to 94 percent amylose, the highest levels available.

The July/August summer nutrition supplement issue of The World of Food Ingredients (Nutrition Insight) features an interview with Raj Ketkar, President and CEO of Arcadia Biosciences.

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