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Q & A: Sugar-y tomatoes taste bad !!!

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
Why does watering a tomato plant with sugar water produce bland and pulpy fruit?
- Stacey Kauffman
A:
Stacey -

Not really being a plant biologist, I'm not totally sure about the answer to your question. But here is my best guess...

There are a lot of different forms of sugar. When a food tastes sugary, what you are probably tasting is sugar in the form of glucose (also known as dextrose), sucrose, or fructose. But it's very hard for a plant or an animal to store these sugars. Animals convert them into a type of sugar called glycogen. Plants convert them into starch, which is actually just another kind of sugar.

But if you've ever tasted starch (for instance, corn starch), you know that it doesn't taste very sweet. It's actually pretty bland. So if I had to make a guess, I'd say that when you give the tomato plant sugar water, it takes in the sweet sugars from the water and converts them into lots of starch. This starch is very useful for the tomato plant if it needs energy later. But it tastes bland and pulpy to us.

-Tamara

(published on 10/22/2007)

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