Bumper crop of purple tomatoes harvested

The John Innes Centre in Norwich. Credit: ITV News Anglia.

Genetically-modified purple tomatoes developed by Norwich scientists are one step closer to going on sale in our supermarkets as a bumper crop is harvested in Canada.

The colour comes from higher-than-normal levels of anthocyanins.

They are compounds usually found in blueberries and blackberries and have been shown to guard against cancer and heart disease.

The first tomato crop has been grown in a 5,000 sq ft glasshouse in Ontario and will yield enough of the fruit to produce 2,000 litres of purple juice.

Experts at the John Innes Centre will use it to carry out further research and start the process of getting the approval needed to bring a commercial juice to market.

“We want to explore a way for consumers to benefit from our discoveries, as we are finding there is a demand for the added health benefits,” said JIC’s Professor Cathie Martin.