Flavor switch

Biotechnology could one day bring us such fanciful delicacies as lemon-tasting watermelon or strawberry-flavored bananas thanks to work by biochemists at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston. They have taken the first steps towards controlling the enzymes responsible for producing flavor chemicals in fruits and vegetables. Their work could be a boon for a food industry keen to find novelty especially in light of efforts to encourage everyone to eat more fresh plant produce. The research might also be used to fine-tune enzymes to produce more of a crop's natural pesticides, reducing the need for agricultural spraying. Writing in the August 20 issue of Nature C.S. Raman and colleagues explain how they could manipulate the flavor enzymes found in the popular plant model, Arabidopsis thaliana.