Australia’s papaya growers are ready to savour the sweet taste of success thanks to a research and breeding program overseen by Griffith University that promises a new variety of the humble pawpaw to give the much-loved mango a run for its money.
Even more exciting is the prospect of their molecular science unlocking gene sequences that code ‘the secret of sweetness’.
The papaya is being given a taste makeover thanks to a combination of laboratory research by Professor Rebecca Ford, Dr Chat Kanchana-udomkan and their team.
They’re selectively breeding new varieties that not only have a clean and delicious flavour profile but also higher sweetness, without GMO, for ultimate direct competition on the supermarket shelves with mango and honeydew melon.
“We’re unravelling the sweetness pathway using traditional breeding and advanced molecular gene selection and this knowledge could then be applied to other crops,” Professor Ford says.
“We’re are also producing papaya that leaves the existing bland or astringent tasting varieties far behind.
“Mango is going to get a run for its money.”
Watch out for a new, improved papaya coming to a supermarket shelf near you.
Professor Ford will be part of the Feeding the World – the Big and Small Solutions conversation (23 March) lending Griffith’s considerable expertise to discussions on food security as the university prepares to host a new $5 million ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hub for Driving Farming Productivity and Disease Prevention.