News that Rijk Zwaan has made a major breakthrough by launching a range of tomato varieties with high resistance against Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus (ToBRFV), shouldn’t be underestimated.
ToBRFV may have been in the news a lot over the last few years but we have to remember it is still a relatively new species of virus originally found in Israel in 2014. It wasn’t until 2019 that is was first found in the UK. Since then, outbreaks have been seen all over the world
ToBRFV is a pathogen that can infect tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) and pepper (Capsicum sp.). Tomato is the main crop impacted by ToBRFV. The virus is problematic, as it has the ability to overcome all known genetic tobamovirus resistances and can cause severe symptoms on the plant’s fruit.
Since the first outbreaks, breeders have been working hard to produce a solution in the fight against ToBRFV, Rijk Zwaan among them.
It has turned its work into a range of hybrid varieties under its Rugose Defense label in several different tomato types: mini plum, cherry tomato on the vine (cherry TOV), cocktail, and medium TOV.
This work and that of others on ToBRFV is a shining example of science, research and development at its best. Without it, we wouldn’t already have a solution and the economic losses brought about by the virus would still be mounting. Effective applied science like this, is key to turning data into decisions whatever the outcome might be.
Here of course, the commercial breeding companies have taken the risk on significant investment in R&D paying off and in this case it has.
But the question still remains over how R&D for the industry in general is going to be delivered and managed in a way that suits and serves everyone from glasshouse growers to ornamental growers. Without R&D and applied science the industry doesn’t have a viable future. Commercial companies will continue the good work they are doing and investment in innovation will remain strong but what about the core R&D? Definitely one to address this year.
The January issue is out now & includes
- Dutch on scent of stink bug biocontrol
- Lack of advice hinders R&D update
- Audience vote on 2022 trials
- Crop concerns for today and tomorrow
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