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TSI Italian introduces resistant rootstocks

ToBRFV: why not protecting tomatoes from "the bottom" as well?

A highly-formative technical event took place over the past few days in Ragusa (Sicily), focused on "TSI Italia strategies to counter ToBRFV", an increasingly popular topic for the whole Sicilian tomato chain.

People signing in at the convention.

While the problem is a global issue even in those parts of the world where the spreading of the virus is not talked about, in Sicily it has caused serious problems, decimating up to over 50% of the table tomato productions grown in greenhouses.

Moran Shelef, senior breeder at TSI. (Click here for the photo gallery)

Today, ToBRFV is not as scary as it used to be and the damage caused is far more limited thanks to crop techniques that employ the correct prophylaxis, genetic innovation and also due to an increased awareness of the chain.

The audience. At the center, standing, Pino Fioretti, the general manager of TSI Italia who moderated the numerous audience interventions. There was a lot of interest for the new Interceptor F1 rootstock.

Just like other seed companies, TSI Italia has made a lot of effort to keep up with genetics that are resistant to the virus, remaining cautious to state an IR (intermediate resistance) for some varieties part of the range. What emerged during the technical encounter for producers, traders, nurseries and technicians is a diversified approach that expresses itself in a protocol, introducing an element illustrated by the Israeli geneticist Moran Shelef, who started by saying that "there are no infallible methods when it comes to dealing with ToBRFV, but only strongly mitigating effects, as the virus recombines and can re-emerge. Nonetheless, we can and must achieve results that cancel or almost cancel its effects."

Rosario Privitera, TSI area manager for southern Italy, during its report focused on the combination between ToBRFV-resistant grafts and rootstocks.

Shelef explained how the TSI strategy is based on a research protocol that keeps into consideration three fundamental backgrounds: the genetic background, resistance genes and environmental conditions in a sort of triangulation where the sum of the elements represents an ideal condition to obtain ToBRFV resistance.

Fig. 1: It is the combination of the elements that generates a good barrier to ToBRFV.

Over the years, this synthesis has become rather clear to everyone, but what is then the added value brought by TSI Italia to the fight against ToBRFV? It is the introduction of a rootstock that is itself resistant to the virus, so as to avoid an infection from the crop residues in the soil. Is this enough for producers to sleep peacefully? Well, what Shelef highlighted is that the resistance of scions alone has a very limited effect and the addition of resistant rootstocks provide a further barrier, a wider strategy that keeps the parameters described in fig. 1 into consideration.

Fig.2: The Interceptor F1 rootstock helps prevent ToBRFV infections from the soil, i.e. from previous crop residues. The protection of the aerial parts of plants is left to the genetic resistance of the scions, combined with the prophylaxis.

Four resistant varieties were introduced during the event, in addition to Allcherryto F1 cherry tomatoes, Fanello F1 plum tomatoes, Pizzobello F1 midi plum tomato (pizzutello) and Carlitos F1 round smooth (bunch) tomatoes.

The presentation of resistant varieties at Fruit Logistica 2024. Left to right: Valentina Gambino, Pino Fioretti, Rosario Privitera and Roberto Mantua.

These varieties, combined with rootstock Interceptor F1, represent a new pillar in the fight against ToBRFV in addition to an appropriate greenhouse management.

For more information:
Rosario Privitera
Via Treggiari n.39
71121 Foggia - Italy
Tel.: +39 338 407 65 75
[email protected]

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