Arcadia Biosciences, Shriram Bioseed reach milestone in developing ESL tomatoes
Arcadia Biosciences and Shriram Bioseed announced the achievement of a key milestone in developing Extended Shelf Life, or 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 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in the U.S. alone, food waste costs households an estimated $166 billion annually, and tomato food waste costs households $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.