The agriculture industry is constantly trying to reduce food waste. To continue that effort, Intrexon Corporation announced it is advancing their non-browning lettuce, GreenVenus Romaine lettuce, to commercial trials. Initial data under commercial indoor production conditions indicate that GreenVenus has an improved shelf-life of up to two weeks and a potential for higher marketable yield with no tip burn.
In addition to improved shelf life, GreenVenus non-browning lettuce has been assessed by the USDA and determined not to be subject to regulation under 7CFR Part 340 for plants altered or produced through genetic engineering.
“We are focused on developing new approaches in precision genetics to enable more sustainable food production as well as reduce food loss and waste,” said Sekhar Boddupalli, Ph.D., President of Intrexon’s Ag Biotech Division. “We are pleased to rapidly advance our GreenVenus lettuce with improved marketable yield and shelf-life from concept to commercial trials within two years. The USDA’s transparent, risk-based decision helps clarify the path to market for our GreenVenus (non-transgenic) lettuce and greatly facilitates our efforts to expand our precision genetics platform to other vegetables.”
In addition to non-browning lettuce, Intrexon is developing other products to reduce food waste. The other products include Artic Golden Apple, Artic Granny Apple, Artic Fuji Apple, non-browning avocados, non-browning pears, and non-browning cherries.
The retail value of leafy greens is estimated at $10 billion annually in the U.S. Further, it is estimated that about $3.3 billion worth of lettuce is lost due to waste each year, half of which is the Romaine type. Non-browning lettuce can allow for more flexibility in production, processing, shipping and storage to help reduce the waste of healthy, nutritious food. As Intrexon looks to advance this product in development toward commercialization, standard food and environmental safety considerations still will apply to this product prior to introduction.