One of the apple’s biggest turnoffs is that it browns. But one apple grower thinks he has a solution: a genetically-modified apple that doesn’t brown.
Neal Carter, the president of Okanagan Specialty Fruits, told Good Fruit Grower that a sliced Arctic Apple can last three weeks without browning if they’re washed in chlorinated water and kept cold.
The fruit has less of an enzyme called polyphenol oxidase, which jump-starts a chemical reaction that browns the flesh of an apple when its cells are damaged by biting, slicing or bruising. By suppressing the production of polyphenol oxidase, Arctic Apples age and brown at a slower rate — taking three weeks to fully oxidize. Okanagan Specialty Fruits says this means that their pre-sliced apples can be sold cheaper than non-GMO apples, as 35 percent of the cost of pre-sliced fruit comes from applying a flavor-altering, antioxidant treatment.
The first genetically modified apples will go on sale in the US next month, according to agricultural site Capital Press. The fruit, produced by Okanagan Specialty Fruits and sold under the brand name Arctic Apples, were approved by the USDA in 2015 with a first harvest collected last fall. The apples have been modified to brown less quickly than ordinary fruit, and will be sold pre-sliced in “grab-and-go” pouches.
Health Canada says there’s no published scientific evidence that genetically modified foods are more harmful than traditional varieties.