Longer-lasting broccoli could soon be hitting the supermarket shelves.
Work is under way at Horticulture Research International to extend the shelf life of the vegetable.
The four-year DEFRA funded project is investigating the genes and individual compounds of the vegetable, and looking at factors that determine why the keeping quality of individual varieties vary.
Project leader Dr David Pink said: "At the moment, supermarkets can only keep broccoli on shelf for two days compared with three for most other vegetables."
He said the product was increasing in popularity with consumers, with the UK crop valued at around £45m.
The drawback with broccoli, however, is its premature yellowing and loss of turgor, when the vegetable goes floppy.
Previous research conducted by HRI has indicated that shelf life can be affected by variation in growing conditions before harvest, such as temperature.
Pink added: "Ultimately, we are hoping that the work being carried out at HRI will allow plant breeders to develop new varieties that retain their looks, flavour and nutrients for a much longer period of time."

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