Plant breeding may bring grapefruit back for breakfast


(NC)—Fruit and vegetables are usually thought of as a healthy part of any diet. But sometimes biting into a grapefruit can be dangerous because this popular citrus fruit can interact negatively with some medications.

Grapefruit contains a compound that is believed to inhibit enzymes from breaking down certain medications, leading to drugs entering the blood stream in higher concentrations than intended, which could lead to an overdose.

But modern plant breeding means that this may one day be a thing of the past. Researchers are working to develop a new hybrid grapefruit that is believed to have very low levels of this compound.

The end result could be a grapefruit that doesn't lead to any side effects. But it doesn't stop there; plant breeding may also be able to introduce other benefits such as a less bitter and sweeter taste. Researchers are also working to develop strawberries with improved freshness and apples with reduced browning.

Plant breeding is just one tool that researchers have been using for years to enhance foods and other crops. In the last few decades, plant breeders have been able to effectively transfer beneficial traits more precisely from one plant to another using a variety of techniques commonly known today as plant biotechnology.

Given the impact that this technology can have on the foods Canadians enjoy, it's worth learning more about it. Many Canadians will be surprised to learn about the high level of research and health and safety testing foods made with these technologies go through before they end up on your breakfast table.

More information is available online at

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