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Israel grows purple carrots, tiger-striped tomatoes

Ever heard of purple carrots or black or tiger-striped tomatoes? Farmers in Israel have now grown differently-coloured varieties -- not as a result of genetic modification but through crossbreeding with wild vegetables.

The pink, yellow and purple carrots and deep purple and black tomatoes will be displayed at a major exposition in Israel's southern Arava valley, home to dozens of farms, producers and marketers.

The tomato breed -- dubbed "Black Galaxy" -- has been developed by a firm named Technological Seeds DM.

They have a higher level of antioxidants, believed to slow the effects of aging, as well as more vitamin C, the company's production manager and developer, Moshe Gutman, told Xinhua news agency.

Gutman said the colour was "photosensitive". The part of the tomatoes exposed to the sun turn deep purple or even black as they ripen while the shaded side turns to the usual red.

Tomatoes lying partially beneath leaves could even turn out "tiger-striped", he said.

The multi-coloured vegetables will make their debut at the southern Negev desert's Arava Agricultural R&D Exhibition, according to the Ynet news website.

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