Blood Oranges

The Professor Cathie Martin lab have investigated the Sicilian blood orange as a unique natural citrus variety with high levels of fruit-specific anthocyanins.

They’ve characterised the mutation involved in anthocyanin accumulation in blood oranges and explained the reason behind their cold-dependent pigmentation that severely limits cultivation on a global scale.

Based on these data, the lab are developing a genetically modified blood orange that combines the characteristics of the best blond orange with high levels of fruit-specific anthocyanins irrespective of environmental conditions and therefore suitable for cultivation in tropical and subtropical regions where most of the production of oranges is concentrated, particularly for juice.

Unlike common blond varieties, the blood orange juice is able to prevent obesity in mice fed a high-fat diet.