From June 15-July 06, 2017 several TRADITOM partners went on a Short-Term Scientific Mission to Israel (STSM) supported by the COST action EUROCAROTEN. The TRADITOM Carotenoid Phenotyping Jamboree included Clara Pons Puig (CSIC-IBCMP/ Spain), Joan Casals Missio (Fundació Miquel Agustí/Spain), Adriana Sacco (CNR/ Italy) and Josef Fisher (HUJI/ Israel).

Clara’s STSM topic explores the “Natural Colour Diversity in the Traditional European Tomato: Phenotyping and Sampling”. The aim of her project was to explore the natural variation in colour mutants within a large collection of traditional European tomatoes and to identify new mutations related to carotenoid metabolism. These new genetic variants can be useful for both scientists and breeders as colour and carotenoid-associated nutritional value are important breeding goals.

Joan’s STSM topic investigates “Genetic and Postharvest Environmental Factors Affecting Carotenoid Composition in Tomato”. When storing tomatoes at low temperatures, alterations of normal ripening patterns like failures in colour and flavour development and abnormal softening can occur, producing fruits with undesirable sensory properties. The aim of the project was to further study the role of Carotenoids in the tolerance to chilling injury.

The STSM was a great chance for knowledge exchange and to collaborate with other international researchers. The phenotyping activities are within the frame of the TRADITOM project where more than 1500 different traditional European varieties have been genotyped and deeply phenotyped in different locations during the past two years.

For the phenotyping activities, the researchers could make use of the extensive lab and greenhouse facilities of the Agricultural Research Organization Volcani Center and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The TRADITOM members were thrilled to support and learn from each other in such a pleasant and productive atmosphere. The collaboration was a fantastic experience which brought new skills, new results and nice memories.

Visit our photo gallery for more impressions from the Carotenoid Phenotyping Jamboree.