Enzymatic browning is the primary type of apple browning which is caused by a chemical reaction post cell injury like bruising, biting or cutting the Apple. The predominant cause of Apple browning due to handling is enzymatic browning. Genetically modified apples do not undergo such browning. To prepare the non browning Apples scientists have used a process which turns down the expression of PPO genes in an expression known as gene silencing. In the end the apple produces very little PPO to brown.
The latest news is that genetically modified non-browning apples get approval from USDA. The company which makes them by removing the enzyme which causes the browning says that the genetic alteration does not affect the nutritional qualities of the apple in any way.
The US Department of Agriculture has given its approval for two varieties of apples which has been genetically modified to prevent browning. The Animal Plant Health Inspection Service of the department has found that the apples will not pose a risk to other plants by introducing bacteria or fungi. According to a USA Today report, the apples will be introduced in the market as Arctic Granny and Arctic Golden by its producer, Oknanagan Specialty Fruits based in British Columbia in Canada. The President of the company said that the approval came after a long period of scrutiny which went on for 57 months before the nod was given by USDA.
After approval, the company will start growing its first crop and the apples are likely to hit the shelves en masse sometime in 2017. According to USDA documents the apples will brown a little bit after a certain point, they just won’t brown as much or as quickly as typical apples. The USDA added that field trials were conducted in Washington and New York State and tests have shown that genetically modified food is safe to eat. However there are a sizeable number of people who are skeptical about GM crops and want laws that require foods to be labeled as genetically modified to inform consumers.