Purple limes could be coming soon to a margarita near you
Purple limes could be the future of the Sunshine State's citrus crop, say researchers from the University of Florida.
They're doing it via genetic engineering.
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According to a press release, "These modified Mexican limes have a protein that induces anthocyanin biosynthesis, the process that creates the 'red' in red wine, and causes the limes to develop a range of colors in the pulp from dark purple to fuchsia."
One of the researchers, Manjul Dutt, noted, "Anthocyanins are beneficial bioflavonoids that have numerous roles in human well-being. Numerous pharmacological studies have implicated their intake to the prevention of a number of human health issues, such as obesity and diabetes."
Anthocyanins occur naturally in the blood oranges of Spain and Italy where colder weather leads citrus to naturally develop much darker colors than Florida's subtropical climate would normally allow.
The purple limes of Florida, however, have been tinged with anthocyanins gathered from the genes of "Ruby Seedless" red grapes and "Moro" blood oranges.
Researchers note that with a little tinkering, they can control the color of the limes' flowers and stems in order to create 'ornamental' plants.
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