The Bayer company has developed new tomato varieties that are resistant to the devastating Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus (ToBRFV) to help the sector face the international irruption of this pathology. After the first phase of research, the company has announced that, at the end of this month, they would carry out in Mexico the final tests of two Roma-type tomato cultivars they claim have intermediate resistance to ToBRFV before their large-scale launch.
The intermediate resistance of these varieties is commonly known as 'asymptomatic carrier', as the crop may show little or no virus symptoms on its leaves and/or fruits if the crop is infected by the virus.
ToBRFV was first observed in 2014 and it has spread rapidly to different areas of the world. This viral disease that affects tomato plants represents a challenge for the industry, as it can be transmitted very easily through many vectors, including agricultural tools and equipment, workers' hands, plants, water, soil, and people.
"ToBRFV can quickly devastate tomato crops, so Bayer worked to develop a product to help growers fight it," said JD Rossouw, the director of Horticultural Seed R&D at Bayer. "We continue working on various species of tomatoes with the goal of bringing more innovative resistance to growers as quickly as possible."
The ToBRFV resistance program complements the company's SHIELD program, a comprehensive approach to delivering clean seeds to growers around the world each season. For more than 10 years, SHIELD's focus has been on preventing, detecting, and eliminating pathogens at Bayer's own production and processing sites, as well as at third-party production and processing sites for the Seminis and De Ruiter brands.
The SHIELD program continues to incorporate the market's best practices in seed production and supply. In addition to having strict production protocols that are applicable in any growing environment (open field, greenhouses, etc.), Bayer has always implemented -and will continue to implement- strict testing measures that are aligned with the guidelines of the International Seed Health Initiative (ISHI) and any applicable laws, including testing their seeds for the presence of ToBRFV before shipping them to customers.