Unraveling the complexity of transcriptomic, metabolomic and quality environmental response of tomato fruit

Tomato is one of the cornerstones of Italian cuisine and, for this reason, underwent a great diversification resulting in a number of varieties adapted to local conditions, particularly in the Campania region, Italy. The San Marzano and Vesuviano varieties are such examples, and present excellent organoleptic characteristics. These two local varieties impersonate superior genotypes which have also been included in the TRADITOM collection. In order to understand the relative contributions of the genetic composition and of the environment to the organoleptic characteristics of these varieties, they were grown together with a “cosmopolitan” variety (Heinz 1706) in two different Campania locations.

Overall, it was observed that the responses of the genes and the metabolites that determine consumer preferences to local environmental conditions were stronger in the two “local” varieties, compared to the “cosmopolitan” one. A series of bioinformatic analyses highlighted the important role of genes acting in cell wall biogenesis and degradation in such responses. The study was published on BMC Plant Biology and results from a collaboration between ENEA (partner in TRADITOM), the University of Verona and the University of Naples, who coordinated the study. BMC further promotes this publication with a video abstract.