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Italy: SunBlack black tomato exclusive

SunBlack black tomatoes, developed by the Università della Tuscia in cooperation with the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna in Pisa and well-known for being rich in antioxidants, will be produced and sold exclusively by L'Ortofruttifero in San Giuliano Terme (Pisa - plant multiplication), Azienda agricola Vella Raffaele (Portopalo di Capo Passero - SR - cultivation) and Nature Service (Milan - sale).

"We carried out the first tests on field in July 2014 in Sicily with only 150 plants. The result was so exciting that we transplanted 3,000 plants in late August and are thinking about 5,000 plants in late January 2015," explains Vincenzo Summo, owner of Nature Service.

The innovative SunBlack variety was developed with traditional hybridation techniques (non biotech) as part of the "Tomantho" (an acronym of tomato and anthocyanin) project. It has high levels of anthocyanin, and that is why its skin is particularly dark. The project was coordinated by the Scienze della Vita institute of the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna di Pisa together with the Università della Tuscia and Modena, Reggio Emilia and Pisa universities.

"While growing, the tomatoes become black and green, and then become black and red when they are ripe. So far, plants have not been particularly productive, but it could depend on the fact that we still have to perfect our agricultural technique." 

In the meantime, the first volumes of SunBlack in Milan were welcomed with a lot of interest "especially from exporters that ship to Switzerland and specialised stores."

The SunBlack mark was registered in 2009. Tomatoes are available in the cherry (500 gram punnets) or vine versions. Packets come complete with a brochure that describes the characteristics of the product.

Starting prices are excellent at €5/kg. "At the moment, SunBlack are sold at the same price as the high-quality Marinda tomato. Of course the price also includes research and experimentation costs. At the moment, it seems that these tomatoes are suitable for late August transplants."

For further info:
Vincenzo Summo
Nature Service
Via Cesare Lombroso, 54
c/o Ortomercato, Pad. "A" Stands 5-6-7
20137 Milano - Italy
Tel.: +39 025 455526
Fax: +39 025 455526
Mob.: +39 335 453147
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