Following doctors' orders, consumers have backed off grapefruit and grapefruit juice for fear it will cause adverse side effects with medications they're taking.
University of Florida researchers now believe they'll be able to release a grapefruit-pummelo hybrid within the next few years that doesn't interact negatively with medication, according to a news release.
The naturally occurring chemical responsible for affecting drug absorption in the blood stream is known as furanocoumarin.
Florida Department of Citrus research scientist Paul Cancalon noticed that grapefruit grown in Florida had lower levels of the chemical than grapefruit grown elsewhere.
He and UF citrus breeder Fred Gmitter began testing other cultivars and hybrids, including one seedless variety, and found they had little or no furanocoumarin.
Lisa House, a UF professor of food and source economics, led two focus groups in Atlanta earlier this year.
One group comprised grapefruit consumers; the other non-consumers.
Both consumer groups liked the idea of a grapefruit hybrid that didn't interfere with drugs and tasted good.
House did point out that it may be difficult to draw big conclusions from a small group.