Arcadia Biosciences, Inc., an agricultural technology company focused on developing technologies and products that benefit the environment and human health, announced that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has granted the company a key technology patent for Extended Shelf Life (ESL) tomatoes. The patent covers the non-transgenic modification of a gene in tomato plants that slows the post-harvest ripening of the tomato.

“Arcadia’s ESL technology allows tomatoes to maintain fresh quality, better flavor and nutrition while retaining the firmness needed during the shipping and marketing process,” said Eric Rey, president and CEO of Arcadia Biosciences. “This technology offers tremendous value for both producers and consumers of tomato food products, including fresh market tomatoes, canned tomatoes, ketchups, soups, sauces, pastes and juices.”

Globally, an estimated 10-35 percent of tomatoes are lost to post-harvest spoilage. Using a non-GM advanced screening and breeding technique called TILLING®, Arcadia has selected tomato lines with altered function of the non-ripening (nor) gene. This results in tomatoes that retain the desirable qualities of vine-ripened fruit, but are resistant to rapid post-harvest softening. Producers benefit from reduced waste and spoilage during production and shipping, providing consumers with fully ripe and fresh tomatoes.

Other alterations to the non-ripening gene in tomatoes are widely available, but they adversely impact tomato flavor because their effects are too severe. Arcadia’s technology uniquely offers intermediate levels of ripening that can be recombined using traditional breeding to produce tomatoes that are superior to existing elite commercial varieties for both producers and consumers.

Arcadia’s ESL technology was developed in part under a U.S. Department of Defense contract to develop longer-lasting fresh produce for field troops stationed in remote locations. Arcadia's patent portfolio now includes more than 107 technology patents in the U.S., Europe, China, Vietnam, Australia, Mexico, and other key geographies for agricultural production.