22 November 2021 News
In October 2020 Enza Zaden announced the discovery of the High Resistance gene to ToBRFV. Paired with sanitary precautions, the best solution to fight this devastating tomato virus.
Fast forward to today, one year later: what has happened in the past year? Where are we now? And what is yet to come?
Martijn van Stee, Crop Breeding Manager Tomato, gives an insight into the process to create high-resistant varieties: “Since we discovered the ToBRFV high resistance gene we worked hard on introducing it in our elite parent lines. At this moment we have high-quality parent lines with the ToBRFV resistance. This helps us to make high resistance tomato varieties.”
Besides working on the parent lines, Enza Zaden has done some extensive trials with high resistant varieties in the past year. Martijn: “We trialed the first tomato varieties already in Europe, Mexico and the Middle East. And what we saw there really convinced us again that the ToBRFV resistance is holding very well.”
Kees Konst, Crop Research Director, continues: “In the meantime, we started up also the seed production of the hybrids. We already have some examples of high resistance varieties in our hands.”
The gene that Enza Zaden has discovered provides high resistance to ToBRFV. Kees explains the importance of high resistance. “With high resistance, you will not have any problems, because there is no virus in the plant. You keep everything clean, your soil, your water. And your tomatoes are fully marketable because the virus will not be detected by a PCR test. Simply because there is no virus in the plant or the fruit.”
Eradicating the virus remains our top priority. This is something we can only achieve together with the growers and the fresh produce industry. Martijn: “Our breeders are very busy filling the pipeline. To make more elite parent lines with resistance, to make more varieties with resistance. The solution is right around the corner. Seed production is scaled up and the first tomato varieties are ready for the market very soon!”