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Changing Flavors

September 25, 2008

Scientists can genetically engineer the flavors of fruits.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
Finessing the flavors of fruit…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

The smell of freshly sliced apple is pleasant to us, but from the apple’s point of view, it’s a desperate cry for help. Plants release scents whenever they’re under stress, and they contain lots of different enzymes to make those compounds.
C.S. Raman is a biochemist at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston. He and his colleagues found that they could genetically manipulate one of those scent enzymes and convert it into another.

C.S. RAMAN (UT Medical Center): What you may be able to do is to tinker with them to fine tune some of the flavors. And this is called scent engineering. People have been wanting to change the scent of flowers, fruits, and you name it, to make it more appealing.

HIRSHON: That means one day, scientists might be able to create custom-flavored fruits to suit anyone’s tastes. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the science society.