The collaboration between Arcadia Biosciences and Bioseed Research India, on the other hand, is essentially a research-based commercial effort to exploit the genes that influence ripening, flavour and nutrition of tomato. It is aimed at evolving value-added tomato strains for the benefit of both tomato growers and consumers.
Arcadia, a US-based agricultural technology firm, has identified genetic variations that allow tomatoes to ripen on the plant and yet remain durable enough to withstand packaging and transportation. This has been made possible through a non-transgenic breeding technology called “tilling”, which uses molecular screens to detect minute variations in a plant’s genome. It enables plant breeders to precisely identify useful traits and keep track of them during breeding cycles. This technology will be available to Bioseed Research India, a fully owned subsidiary of DCM Shriram Consolidated Ltd (DSCL). This technology will allow DSCL to expand its hybrid tomato seed development programme to evolve India-specific, long shelf-life tomato hybrids with fruit qualities preferred by local consumers. The new hybrids, which may take three years to develop and another one year to commercialise, will help improve transportability and prolong the shelf life by two weeks in addition to the normal seven to 10 days.
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