Breedx’s latest tomato varieties benefit from the breeder’s ability to increase soluble sugars and control sucrose, glucose and fructose levels, using classical breeding techniques

Breedx, the vegetable varietal development company, has taken the well-worn cliché of ‘Tasty Tomato’ and, using classical plant breeding techniques, is well on the way to commercialising innovative varieties. 

Breedx tomatoes

Tomato Taste Programmes, which involve naturally altering the fructose-glucose ratio and the balance between sweetness and acidity, were being developed as far back as 1986. In Israel, a Volcani Center research group, led by Dr Ari Schaffer and Dr Moshe Bar (who later joined Zeraim Gedera/Syngenta) worked with the goal of developing tomato varieties with improved taste, reminiscent of the “tomatoes of old”. 

The strategy adopted was to utilise wild species of tomato to modify and improve sugar metabolism and accumulation in the commercial tomato. Today, the same researchers have reunited under the framework of Breedx.  

All cultivated tomatoes contain approximately equal amounts of the two hexoses, glucose and fructose, while the disaccharide sucrose is absent. During the research programme, the trait of sucrose accumulation was successfully transferred by classical breeding techniques, molecular markers for the trait were developed and the breeding group was able to create novel varieties of sucrose-accumulating tomatoes. 

The breeding group is able to increase soluble sugars and control sucrose, glucose and fructose levels, controlling the sugar-acid ratio by the use of molecular markers linked directly to specific traits. 

Varieties being developed in this programme are all aimed at single pick tomatoes with a fruit size of 8-25g and a Brix of no less than 9. There are two basic colours – chocolate/brown and shiny red – while some varieties have highly-attractive mottling and striping. These varieties are being trialled today worldwide, in Europe, North America, Japan and South Africa.  

Lior Carmeli, CEO of Breedx, commented: “This intensive tomato activity at Breedx is in parallel with continuous development of the seedless sweet pepper segments – three colours, from small one-bite fruits to mini-capia.”