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Genetically engineered fruit that contains a coffee cup's worth of caffeine per berry

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Nov 01, 2021
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Genetically engineered easy-to-grow fruit that contains a coffee cup's worth of caffeine per berry.
  • Why go through such an elaborate energy-intensive process just for a hit of caffeine? Transport, cooking, coffee making machinery, etc. People will consume their favorite drug regardless of the form it comes in. They would love the berry and the associated taste just the same.
  • The fruit could be grown anywhere in the world.
  • A new cash crop for agriculture.
  • Caffeine is not illegal, neither should the fruit be.
How it works
If it can be done for tobacco, it can be done for other plants as well:
We had previously isolated genes encoding three distinct N-methyltransferases, and we demonstrated production of recombinant enzymes that yielded caffeine in in vitro reconstitution experiments. When these caffeine biosynthetic pathway genes were simultaneously expressed in tobacco plants (Nicotiana tabacum), caffeine was successfully produced up to 5 microg/g fresh weight in leaves.
Make the berries available fresh and dry. See coffee go out of favor with younger generations. Anecdotally, kids don't like the taste of coffee but learn to appreciate it as the society can't stop offering it everywhere.
Market the fruit as a small planet-saving initiative and you have a movement.

[1]Kim YS, Uefuji H, Ogita S, Sano H. Transgenic tobacco plants producing caffeine: a potential new strategy for insect pest control. Transgenic Res. 2006 Dec;15(6):667-72. doi: 10.1007/s11248-006-9006-6. Epub 2006 Nov 8. PMID: 17091387.

Creative contributions

Why only one berry?

jnikola Nov 02, 2021
Although I'm a huge coffee lover, I wouldn't mind eating a berry or two, instead of a coffee, on a hot summer day. What I think could be tricky is the high caffeine dose per berry. I love eating fruit and I couldn't stop eating just one. I would probably eat much more and had a terrible sleeping problem that night.
The idea
Maybe a cool thing would be engineering the berries to contain e.g. 100 mg of caffeine per 100 g of berries. That way, eating a standard (at least in my country) portion of berries (125 g, Figure 1) would be equal to one coffee cup.
Figure 1 Pack of berries
  • A person can enjoy berries without negative effect of eating the whole package
  • Engineering could be less complicated
  • The taste of berries could be better, since the pure caffeine is extremely bitter
  • The plant growth would be less affected, since high doses of caffeine can be toxic for insects, particularlyhoneybees, responsible for the pollenation




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Sweets with guarana

Povilas S
Povilas S Nov 08, 2021
In the meantime, an alternative to that can be sweets made with guarana powder. Guarana seeds contain two to two and a half times more caffeine than coffee beans. It would be enough to eat approximately 10 guarana seeds (the size of the seed is approximately equal to that of a coffee bean) to get the same amount of caffeine that is in an espresso shot. The problem is - they are hard to chew and the taste is not pleasant. For this reason, guarana is usually consumed in powder form. The taste of the powder is somewhat nutty/barky, it can be compared to the taste of roasted acorns. Such taste blends well with the taste of chocolate and added sugar would mask the bitterness.
You don't need much powder to "get high". A three 00' caps filled with powder will give an effect of a coffee cup. But even from a single one you can feel an effect. That amount of powder can be baked into a small candy.
However, the "problem" with eating caffeine rather than drinking it dissolved in liquids is that the effect will be different. Even drinking cold vs hot coffee provides a different effect. Eating guarana vs drinking hot coffee to me has a significantly different effect, not to mention the taste and the ritualistic experience of drinking a hot liquid. I don't think people would be satisfied with only edible caffeine, it would perhaps result in the situation that is now apparent with burning tobacco and all the vaping products - most people usually end up consuming both of them interchangeably.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic2 years ago
Now I have to try the taste of roasted acorns:)
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Povilas S
Povilas S2 years ago
Darko Savic Yes, there's such a thing as acorn coffee, but the taste is not impressive, I can tell you :D
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