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USDA Approves Sale of Non-Browning GMO Apples (futurism.com)
45 points by blackwingbear1 on Jan 22, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 23 comments

They did this by suppressing four genes to minimize polyphenol oxidase production. What negative effect does this have on the apple? They do address this on the website, but I wonder what pesticide requirement these have. They state themselves PPO production plays a defensive role in many plants. I dislike this kind of manipulation for what amounts to practically zero benefit, especially if it further necessitates a stock regimen of chemicals to successfully grow.

The link is in the article, but here it is[0].

>What role does PPO play in the plant, you might ask? In some plants, PPO plays a defensive role – for example, tomatoes produce high levels of PPO when attacked by pests or pathogens. In contrast, apples produce very low levels of PPO, and only in very young fruit. Its presence is probably left over from apples of ages ago, playing no role in today’s apples.

It sounds like the appendix or tail bones in humans. He does mention in the last paragraph that PPO's may be antioxidants, but whether PPO's are needed or not is not known. Unfortunately, if this takes off it will be much later down the line if we find out there are adverse side-effects.

To be fair, there is currently no known health issues with GMO plants, AFAIK.

[0] http://www.arcticapples.com/how-did-we-make-nonbrowning-appl...

There may be some use for the appendix.


When would they discover a use for PPO in Apple's?

It's definitely not zero benefit. Tons of food is wasted because it looks slightly 'off' or was let sit out too long. Brown apples aren't dangerous, they just don't look/taste as good, but people still won't eat them.

I agree that it'd be interesting to see some data on what exactly the change has done, if anything, but there's no guarantee it requires anything like what you suggest.

Edit: If you look to the comments section on their website's post on this[0], they address this and other issues. Would be ideal to have some peer-reviewed research available, though.


In addition to the direct benefits, this also eliminates the chemical coatings previously used to achieve the same effect.

What chemicals are used for anti-browning commercially? For household use apparently citric acid, vitamin c, etc. are recommended, which doesn't sound too alarming.

Many types of packaged apple slices in the U.S. seem to use salts of Vitamin C like calcium ascorbate.


"Ingredients: Apples, Calcium Ascorbate (a blend of Calcium and Vitamin C to maintain freshness and color)." https://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en-us/about-our-food/nutrition-...

I don't think some calcium and vitamin C is much to worry about.

On whole apples my favorite was confectioners wax. Also thin enough to make the apple shiny.

This is the browning of the flesh of the Apple which happens when the Apple is cut and in contact with Oxygen. This is not related to wax or other treatments of the skin used to prolong freshness as I understand it.

Try breaking an apple open instead of cutting with a knife.

Break the skin near the stem with thumb nails for an inch or so along a great circle line, then grasp between palms with the stem between the proximal joints of your thumbs, and press the thumb joints together while trying to pull the apple apart.

Once the apple breaks, put one half aside for a few hours and see if the interior surface browns. YMMV with apple type & bruising.

I suppose that breaking the fruit divides it between cell walls, while cutting breaks cell walls along the cut. Enjoy.

Apples that are sold precut are coated in something (e.g. ascorbic acid) to make prevent browning.

Sorry, I didn't know that. I guess that's a thing that happens.

Unfortunately, my world view doesn't include, or understand, pre-cut apples.

That's interesting, since you're commenting on an article about pre-cut apples.

Households won't always buy them, but if you were packing your kid's lunch for the next day, it'd be great to cut the apple the night before and have it edible the next day - or a couple days if the child gets sick.

More broadly, pre-sliced apples are convenient for schools and daycares (much like frozen fruit is convenient). Things like this might make it more likely for convenience stores to offer more fruits since they are shelf-stable a bit longer.

I like to bite into the crisp cold flesh of the Apple with my incisors and proceed to consume the apple, core, stem and all.

I now understand my world view was rather narrow in this regard. A whole spectrum of equally valid methods for apple consumption are now clearer to me.

But previously, I was unaware of the seemly widespread under-served demand for pre-cut apple.

They're also convenient for cooking, if you need a large quantity of cut apples and don't want to spend half your prep time on that.

Can you buy them in large quantities? I've only every seen small packages intend for single servings for children.

Yes, they also come in multi-pound resealable containers. Those are also much cheaper than the convenience-oriented "snack packs".

Interesting. I've never seen them in bulk. But I've also never looked, so it's not shocking that I wouldn't know about them.

Prolong freshness, increase gloss, etc.

Sliced apples in my kids' lunchbox!

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