Tasteless Tomatoes Soon A Thing Of The Past

Key To Flavoursome Fruit Unlocked

Tasteless Tomatoes Soon A Thing Of The Past

Pic Credit: Flickr CC BY 2.0

Scientists think they've found a way to put the taste back in tomatoes.

The supermarket variety seem to have less and less flavour, compared to the ones we grow at home, typically known as heirloom tomatoes.

The only downside of the homegrown variety is that they can be all different shapes and sizes. Over the years they've been bred, through an artificial selection process, to keep the colour, shape and size fairly consistent.

Now a 20 member international research team's identified the chemical compounds and genes responsible for giving heirloom tomatoes their rich flavour.

The unique flavour of a tomato is determined by specific airborne molecules called volatiles, which emanate from flavour chemicals in the fruit. By asking a panel of consumers to rate over a hundred varieties of tomato, the researchers identified 13 volatiles that play an important role in producing the most appealing flavours.

They also found that bigger tomatoes tended to have less sugar, which also contributes to the lack of taste.

The paper was published in Science.