Israeli scientists develop more nutritious, colorful potatoes

FeaturedImage_2017-08-24_Flickr_Purple_Potatoes_5087912635_3f0480714e_bAre you ready for violet-colored potatoes? How about orange tobacco? Researchers at Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science have figured out how to produce betalain pigments in plants and flowers that don’t normally have them. If you’re thinking, “Who needs violet tomatoes?” you should know that red-violet and yellow betalain pigments contain healthful antioxidant properties. They’re also the basis for natural food dyes for products such as strawberry yogurt. Antioxidant activity is 60 percent higher in betalain-producing tomatoes than in average ones, said Prof. Asaph Aharoni of Weizmann’s Plant and Environmental Sciences Department, who teamed up with Dr. Guy Polturak for the pigment research. “Our findings may in the future be used to fortify a wide variety of crops with betalains in order to increase their nutritional value,” he said. More