Anti-spoiling technology designed to extend the shelf life of fruits and vegetables could be used to prevent aging in humans, according to US biotech firm Senesco Technologies Inc.

New Brunswick-based Senesco revealed this week that it has isolated two genes in mammals that are also associated with cell death in plants.

John Thompson, former University of Waterloo dean of science and Senesco co-founder, explained to the National Post: "Since the [genes] are key regulating genes, it is reasonable to expect they perform similar functions in plants and animals."

The discovery is based on research already conducted by Thompson, who isolated the enzymes naturally released by plants to hasten the ripening process. By modifying them, he was able to lengthen the life of the plants.

Company chairman Ruedi Stalder stressed that Senesco will "vigorously pursue" the commercial opportunities in the discovery, and the company is seeking commercial partners.