Rosie Lerner, Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Purdue University
Although not very common, we occasionally get calls regarding tomato fruits
that have sprouted seeds inside. The "normal" balance of plant growth
regulators (PGR) inside the fruit should inhibit germination until the seeds
have been harvested from the pulp. Certain genetic mutations might be lacking
in this PGR, or, environmental conditions might interfere with the plant's
ability to produce the PGR.
In tomatoes, cool temperatures coupled with low light conditions is thought to inhibit that particular PGR, thus allowing the seeds to germinate inside the moist, warm environment of the tomato fruit. This particular store-bought tomato specimen appears to have had some chilling injury, evident by the water-soaked appearance of the flesh.
Click on the small image to view a larger image.
Sprouting tomato seeds
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