Scientists develop new tomato that can be grown even in outer space

Researchers believe that the development of these gene-edited tomatoes could revolutionize the agricultural sector

A team of scientists under the leadership of Zach Lippman, a Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory professor, has developed a new tomato which is pretty much ideal for urban gardens and can even be grown in outer space. This gene-edited crop will grow like bunched grapes in a storage unit, and it makes it the perfect crop that can be grown in places not suitable for plant growth.

The dawn of urban agricultural tomatoes

tomato that can be grown in space
When three specific genetic mutations are combined and tuned just right, scientists can turn tomato plants into extremely compact bushes ideal for urban agriculture. Just two of these mutations (insert, left) shortens the normally vine-like plants to grow in a field, but all three (insert, right) causes their fruits to bunch like grapes. Researchers cut away the plant’s leaves for a clearer view of the new tomatoes. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

The most unique feature of this new gene-edited tomato plant is its bunched, compact fruit. These plants will resemble a bouquet whose flowers have been replaced by ripe cherry tomatoes. It should also be noted that these tomatoes mature very quickly, and produce ripe fruits in under 40 days. These tomato plants are also eco-friendly.

"They have a great small shape and size, they taste good, but of course that all depends on personal preference. This demonstrates how we can produce crops in new ways, without having to tear up the land as much or add excessive fertilizer that runs off into rivers and streams. Here's a complementary approach to help feed people, locally and with a reduced carbon footprint," said Lippman in a recent statement.

Crops suitable for outer space

Lippman revealed that further research will be soon carried out on fruit groups like Kiwi to produce such bouquet-plants suitable for urban cultivation. He also believes that making crops and harvests shorter will help to revolutionize the agricultural sector in the future.

Lippman added that scientists at NASA, the United States space agency, have shown interest in these tomatoes. Even though the upcoming crewed Mars and moon missions will not carry these tomatoes, we can expect these crops reaching space in the near future, as it could solve the food shortage for astronauts while being in outer space.

Related topics : Nasa