Scientists at the Munster-based Institute of Plant Biochemistry and Biotechnology have developed a “safer” GM tomato, which will not transmit its modified genes to other crops.

Without the fears of cross contamination from organic farmers and conservation groups, the researchers believe that this could lead to the production of a range of health boosting fruit and veg,

Led by Professor Ralph Bock, the team also found that new laboratory techniques enable higher levels of proteins to develop in the plants’ tissues, creating “super tomatoes” with increased vitamin content.

Detailing the work in the journal Nature Biotechnology, the team explains: “Given the generally very high foreign protein accumulation rates that can be achieved in transgenic chloroplasts, this system paves the way to efficient production of edible vaccines, pharmaceuticals, and antibodies in tomato.”

To prove that their experiment worked, the team have only used a marker gene in the plant. Now however more useful genes may be incorporated, opening the way for new applications.