The difference in flavor between a tomato that, indeed, tastes like tomato and one that too often lacks flavor, is abysmal. Therefore, a group of researchers it has been proposed to develop tomato varieties that, among other things, maintain their characteristic flavor which is often difficult to find in supermarkets.
It is a European biotechnology project led by researchers from the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) who, Over the next four years, it will look for a way to develop tomatoes with higher quality, better flavor and greater resistance emerging diseases and climate change.
“This is an initiative of great importance for a crop such as tomato. First, because It will allow the market to offer solutions so that this crop can resist some viruses that threaten it, as well as the challenges of climate change. And second, because the project brings together all the agents so that the results of the laboratories are transferred to the market “, declares the project coordinator, Antonio Granell.
And it is that the project, called ‘Harnesstom’ – which has a budget of 8.07 million euros-, it will not only be dedicated to gathering genetic information on tomato varieties; but also cIt will be with the collaboration of institutions from seven countriesfrom small and medium-sized enterprises, technology companies, cultivation companies to NGOs, farmers’ associations and academic institutions. Everything, with one goal: “That the tomato that comes to our table is better, in every way”Granell points out in the statement sent by the CSIC.
Throughout the investigation, they will also have the pconsumer participation and opinion, trendsetting chefs and universities “for the design of innovative strategies that will yield locally adapted cultivation materials.”
Four programs for a more flavorful and resistant tomato
To optimize the quality of the vegetable (which has a reduced genetic diversity and therefore very vulnerable to disease emerging markets and climate change), the Harnesston project will develop four pre-production programs.
According to reports from the CSIC, the first of them will introduce resistance against the main diseases; the second will seek a better adaptation of the tomato to climate change; the third will be used to improve quality; and the fourth will seek to increase the resilience of the traditional European tomato.
The research will be coordinated by Granell, from the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Plant Biology (IBMCP), a joint center of the CSIC and the Polytechnic University of Valencia; and will have five other Spanish partners: the Valencian Institute of Agricultural Research (IVIA), the Extremadura National Agrifood Technological Center (CTAEX), Fundación Cajamar, the Association of Producers and Marketers of the Tomato from Penjar d’Alcala de Xivert and Enza Zaden Research Center. The Harnesstom consortium is completed by fifteen other entities from Bulgaria, France, Italy, Israel, the Netherlands and Taiwan.