New processing tomato resists whitefly-vectored viruses

12/05/2011 06:30:00 PM
Vicky Boyd

A group of troublesome whitefly-vectored processing tomato viruses may have met their match with a new variety developed by Texas AgriLife vegetable breeder Kevin Crosby.

The new variety, dubbed T-5, is resistant to tomato yellow leaf curl virus and the bipartite Mexican begamovirus complex, says Crosby, who's based in College Station.

They are spread by silverleaf whiteflies during feeding.

Although the viruses are harmless to humans, they cause tomato leaves to curl and turn yellow, eventually killing the plant.

T-5 is an open-pollinated variety that carries the TY-2 and TY-3 resistance genes, Crosby says.

He credits previous research conducted in Texas as well as by colleagues in Florida and Taiwan who had identified the resistant genes.

Crosby obtained cultivars from Taiwan's World Vegetable Research and Development Center as well as from Jay Scott, University of Florida tomato breeder, to test.

Those varieties were crossed with other lines that were better adapted to Texas and had good processing qualities.

T-5 is being tested by some of the producers in the Texas Rio Grande Valley, and the results look promising.

Although the variety has good flavor, color and virus resistance, the jury's still out on its indeterminate nature.

Most producers growing for processing like determinate varieties where the fruit matures all at once.

Growers of fresh-market tomatoes also are interested in Crosby's work since there are few vine-ripe or heirloom-type cultivars with both heat tolerance and virus resistance.

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