CINNAMINSON, N.J. --DNA Plant Technology Corp. on Wednesday said it hasapplied to the Department of Agriculture for permission to field-testtomatoes containing an "antifreeze" protein derived from a fish, thewinter flounder.

"The tomato is a good model system to study the impact of the proteinon the freeze-thaw stability of fruit," said John Bedbrook, DNAP executivevice president. DNAP is also interested in the large market forpre-prepared tomatoes. Tomatoes can't currently be frozen because theydon't survive the freezing process.

The antifreeze gene is inserted in the tomatoes using Agrobacteriumtumefaciens, a plant bacterium commonly used to insert foreign genesinto plants. The field tests will be conducted in California.

DNAP is engaged in several other projects involving ice crystal modifiers.The company is negotiating for a partner to commercialize the use ofantifreeze proteins in frozen foods such as ice cream and frozen yeastdoughs; it has developed a Bacterial Ice Nucleator Diagnosis (BIND) testthat uses an ice nucleation protein inserted into a bacterial virus todetect salmonella contamination in food; and it is continuing developmentof Frostban, in which a strain of Pseudomonas bacteria lacking a gene forice formation prevents freezing. -- Karen Bernstein

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