Increasing Resilience Of Canary Islands Tomatoes - TRADITOM comes to the rescue

The tomato growing tradition of the Canary Islands dates back more than 100 years and was sparked by an increasing demand elsewhere in Europe – it is particularly illustrated by the well-known Canary Wharf in London were tomatoes arrived even in winter to satisfy the needs of the British  at a time when growing tomatoes was not possible elsewhere in Continental Europe during the cold months. The introduction of improved hybrids and greenhouse technology in Almería in the 60’s then completely caused a shift in the production areas towards the South of Spain and a dramatic reduction in tomato cultivation in the Canary Islands.  

TRADITOM partners met representatives from CULTESA  a company between the local government of Canary Islands, Cabildo Insular of Tenerife, COPLACA and Caja Canarias that is mainly involved in the in vitro propagation of plants for local famers but also interested in tomato plant properties. The particular interest of CULTESA is to increase the resilience against viral diseases of ORONE®, a tomato variety registered by the company a while ago that represents a high quality Canary type tomato. TRADITOM partner CSIC-IBMCP and UMH initiated a 3-year collaboration with CULTESA to introduce disease resistance genes (DRG) against the three main viruses following an intercross strategy and a strong marker-assisted selection strategy. The parental tomato line providing the DRG was also a traditional variety but one that is carrying optimized versions of the DRG that was developed in the frame of TRADITOM.  Representatives from Cabildo and Cultesa discussed the progress made and were fascinated by the exciting results obtained so far including the taste of fruits obtained from the initial crosses which they found excellent. Participants also visited the greenhouses at the Universitat Miguel Hernandez (UMH) in Orihuela, where the breeding materials are cultivated. This initiative demonstrates that TRADITOM is attracting interest from both public and private sectors and encourages us to keep an eye out for long-lasting and fruitful collaborations.

In the pictures: TRADITOM partners: Antonio Granell, Antonio Monforte, Santiago García and Juan José Ruiz; Cultesa Parners: Leonardo and Teresa; Cabildo Tenerife: Jesús Manuel Morales (Consejero Agricultura, Ganadería y Pesca) and Domingo Rios