JAPAN – Japanese scientists from Ryukoku University and Osaka Metropolitan University have successfully cultivated transgenic eggplants with elevated beta-carotene levels using artificial lighting.

Eggplants naturally contain limited carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, compared to tomatoes, prompting researchers to explore methods to enhance their nutritional value.

The team achieved this by introducing a PSY gene from the bacterium Erwinia uredovora into the eggplant, facilitating the accumulation of beta-carotene.

Their findings revealed that eggplants grown under artificial lighting exhibited five times higher beta-carotene levels than those cultivated in greenhouses.

However, these artificially illuminated crops were smaller in size, suggesting a potential inhibition of fruit development due to beta-carotene accumulation.

These results offer valuable insights for the development of transgenic eggplant varieties with increased beta-carotene content suitable for artificial lighting conditions.

Over the years, significant progress has been made in enhancing eggplants through various means.

Regarding genetic improvement, Eggplants, belonging to the Solanaceae family, present breeding challenges due to their relationship with other crops like potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and tobacco.

Biotechnological approaches, including the introduction of genes from wild species and the use of molecular marker-assisted breeding, have played crucial roles in improving eggplant varieties.

Tissue culture and manipulation have resulted in Eggplants exhibiting remarkable tissue culture capabilities, enabling techniques such as somaclonal variation, somatic hybridization, haplodization, and gene transfer to manipulate their traits effectively.

Finally, Bt eggplant, a genetically modified variety producing a protein toxic to specific insect pests, represents a significant advancement in sustainable pest management and crop protection.

These advancements represent the ongoing efforts to enhance eggplant varieties for improved yield, resistance to pests and pathogens, and enhanced nutritional value, contributing to sustainable agriculture practices.

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