Increasing ascorbic acid and iron levels in tomatoes to enhance human nutrition and plant abiotic stress tolerance
Tomatoes have a narrow range of optimal growing temperatures and heat stress can limit fruit yield as well as affect fruit development. Fluctuations of yields caused by unpredictable heatwaves have an impact on the food supply chain, as over- estimation of UK supply necessitates costly imports. Studies have shown that even modest increases in vitamin C content and iron levels can help tomato crops cope better with these stresses. Iron is a key trace-element essential for human health, however in the UK, the average iron in-take levels in females are below the recommended levels. By combining vitamin C and iron biofortification, this project hopes to result in the production of nutrient-dense tomatoes and enhance iron bioavailability for healthy diets. All while improving the productivity and sustainability of UK tomato production and lowering emissions and reducing waste.