Research Highlight

Enzyme clue to better fruit shelf life

doi:10.1038/nindia.2010.12 Published online 10 February 2010

Researchers have successfully reduced fruit softening in a transgenic tomato variety thereby increasing its shelf life.

They achieved this by suppressing two enzymes responsible for ripening in tomato -- the N-glycoprotein modifying enzymes, α-mannosidase (α-Man) and β-D-N-acetylhexosaminidase (β-Hex).

The suppression of these enzymes enhanced fruit shelf life due to the reduced rate of softening. The fruits were found to be firmer with a shelf life of close to a month.

The researchers also found that overexpression of these enzymes resulted in excessive fruit softening. Transcriptomic comparative studies demonstrate the down-regulation of cell wall degradation and ripening-related genes in RNAi fruits.

They suggest genetic manipulation of this class of enzymes to enhance fruit shelf life, without any negative effect on phenotype, including yield.


  1. Meli, V. S. et al. Enhancement of fruit shelf life by suppressing N-glycan processing enzymes. P. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 107, 2413-2418 (2010) | Article |