Grow your fruit in a lab

New Zealand is developing an answer to potential shortages in one part of the food chain – when floods or drought deprive a nation of fruit, you can grow it in a laboratory.

Well not quite, and not quite yet. But scientists at Plant & Food Research in the southern city of Christchurch are aiming to grow fruit tissue from plant cells that they hope will one day taste, smell and feel like real fruit.

The programme aims to grow fruit tissue without the parts that are usually discarded, like the core of the apple or the rind of an orange.

“Researchers hope that the programme will help safeguard the country’s food security,” according to a report in the Guardian in London. The scientists say that climate change will result in less land to grow the food needed for an expanding global population.

It could be some time before these efforts yield results. Like lab-grown meat, the programme is at the early stages of development. Then it will still face a number of obstacles, including regulatory and food safety approval.

This could take “years if not decades,” according to a New Zealand scientist not involved in the lab-fruit programme.

Not every tree bears fruit.