Scientists Say They've Unlocked the Chilling Effect the Fridge Has on Tomatoes' Taste | NBC Bay Area
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Scientists Say They've Unlocked the Chilling Effect the Fridge Has on Tomatoes' Taste

The study opens up the possibility of breeding tomatoes that stay fresh-tasting in the fridge

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Getty Images, File
    Tomatoes are displayed inside at the London Harvest Festival Show on October 7, 2014.

    If you buy tomatoes from John Banscher at his farmstand in New Jersey, he'll recommend keeping them out of the fridge or they'll lose some of their taste.

    Now scientists have figured out why: It's because some of their genes chill out, says a study that may help solve that problem.

    Flyer Protections on Overbooked Plane Flights

    [NATL] Flyer Protections on Overbooked Plane Flights

    NBC reports on the steps that flyers and travelers can take to protect themselves, and their vacation, from an overbooked flight.

    (Published Wednesday, April 26, 2017)

    Cooling tomatoes below 54 degrees stops them from making some of the substances that contribute to their taste, according to researchers who dug into the genetic roots of the problem.

    That robs the fruit of flavor, whether it happens in a home refrigerator or in cold storage before the produce reaches the grocery shelf, they said.

    With the new detailed knowledge of how that happens, "maybe we can breed tomatoes to change that," said researcher Denise Tieman of the University of Florida in Gainesville.

    She and colleagues there, in China and at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, report their findings in a paper published Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    New Artificial Wombs Stimulates Mom for Preemies

    [NATL] New Artificial Wombs Stimulates Mom for Preemies

    A new invention from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia may soon care for extremely premature babies. Artificial wombs stimulate an environment similar to a mother's womb - a method that researchers say is gentler than ventilators and incubators. 

    (Published Wednesday, April 26, 2017)

    They showed that after seven days of storage at 39 degrees, tomatoes lost some of their supply of substances that produce their characteristic aroma, which is a key part of their flavor. Three days of sitting at room temperature didn't remedy that, and a taste test by 76 people confirmed the chilled tomatoes weren't as good as fresh fruit.

    Tomatoes stored for just one or three days didn't lose their aroma substances.

    Further research showed that the prolonged chilling reduced the activity of certain genes that make those compounds, Tieman said.

    Her lab is already looking into the possibility of breeding tomatoes that don't lose flavor in the cold, she said.

    Teens Overcoming Opioids Seek Treatment in Recovery Schools

    [NATL] Teens Overcoming Opioid Dependence Seek Treatment in 'Recovery Schools'

    A new method for battling teenage opioid abuse comes not in the form of a new drug or counseling method, but in special "recovery schools" that emphasize communal support and positive peer pressure. 

    (Published Tuesday, April 25, 2017)

    In the meantime, "Just leave them out on the counter, or leave them in a shaded area, something like that," said Banscher, whose farm is in Gloucester County. "A tomato has a decent shelf life."