A company has developed bananas that resist browning, aiming to “significantly reduce food waste”

The potential of a non-browning banana is truly revolutionary, marking a significant breakthrough in agricultural biotechnology.

Tropic, a UK-based agriculture-biotechnology company, has achieved a remarkable feat by gene-editing the fruit to resist browning, making it impervious to Panama disease.

This innovation not only promises to reduce food waste but also contributes to a significant decrease in carbon dioxide pollution.

As reported by Interesting Engineering in May, Tropic’s non-browning banana has garnered attention for its resilience against Panama disease, a significant threat to global banana production.

The Philippines Bureau of Plant Industry granted the banana a non-genetically modified organism exemption, highlighting its distinction as the first gene-edited product to navigate a new regulatory process.

The importance of this development extends beyond cosmetic concerns. Over 60% of exported bananas go to waste, and the introduction of non-browning bananas could potentially cut supply chain carbon pollution by an impressive 25%.

This reduction is equivalent to removing two million passenger vehicles from the road annually, as emphasized by Tropic in a news release. Moreover, it has the potential to significantly mitigate food waste, addressing a critical issue in global food sustainability.

The Philippines, being a key player in banana production in Southeast Asia, has faced challenges to its market share due to the prevalence of Panama disease Tropic Race 4.

This fungus, which blocks water-conducting tissue in banana plant stems, poses a threat to banana production worldwide. Tropic’s innovative approach not only addresses this threat but also positions the company as a pioneer in sustainable agricultural practices.

This development aligns with a broader trend in agriculture, where crops are being engineered to withstand increasingly severe climate conditions.

Examples include heat- and blight-resistant apples, which require less labor than traditional apple trees. Similarly, salt-resistant rice designed to survive rising temperatures and seawater encroachment presents a potential solution for the 3.5 billion people relying on it for sustenance.

Looking ahead, the agricultural landscape is poised for more innovations. Tropic’s exploration of developing coffee and rice with lower production costs in terms of energy and greenhouse gas emissions underscores a commitment to sustainable practices.

As the world grapples with the challenges of food security and environmental impact, these advancements represent crucial steps toward a more resilient and sustainable future.

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