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Why have modern tomatoes lost their flavor?

Why do tomatoes seem to have lost their flavor? Why do some dishes call for ketchup when cooking with tomatoes? These are a couple of the questions that Qian Feng, a second-year University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences doctoral candidate, seeks to answer through her research.

Feng, a member of Professor Esther van der Knaap’s plant biology lab in the UGA Institute of plant breeding, genetics, and genomics, grew up in China, a big producer of tomatoes. Many traditional Chinese dishes include tomatoes as a main ingredient, but Feng recognized a confusing trend.

“More often than not, my family had to add lots of extra condiments to bring the right ‘tomato’ flavor out,” Feng explained.

Dissatisfied with the bland flavor profile, Feng began investigating the evolutionary history of the tomato in order to uncover any traits that could explain the loss in taste. She found that through selective breeding to increase the size and outer protective shell — in addition to breeding disease-resistant varieties of tomatoes — farmers and producers created a less intense tasting and less nutritious tomato.

The key to measuring and increasing the taste of a tomato lies in its chemistry, more specifically the amount and type of chemicals, or volatiles, present in the food. “To link different volatiles to actual consumer preference, we cannot rely simply on the measured value. We need to have a taste panel so that the human perception of flavor can be taken into account,” Feng stated.

Using research from Denise Tieman and Harry Klee at the University of Florida, who have spent years collecting volatile data along with taste panel evaluations from over 100 tomato varieties, Feng was able to map additional genes responsible for volatile production in order to offer a more complete picture of the biochemical pathways in tomatoes.

Although further research in the van der Knaap lab will not focus on selective breeding to increase the amount of identified volatiles in tomatoes, Feng hopes that her results can be used by other breeding labs and facilities to introduce the desirable genes into current or new tomato varieties.

For more information:
University of Georgia

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Israel announces creation of global seed company

Two Israeli seed producers, Nirit Seeds and TomaTech, have joined forces to create Israel’s largest vegetable seed company. This synergy will enable unique seed breeding research and development that will accelerate the company’s growth in the international seed markets.

Upon completion of the merger, the company will have more than 80 employees worldwide, including molecular biologists, breeders, agronomists, and others.
The company will improve its breeding activities in Israel, Spain, Mexico and Italy, as well as significantly expand its representation in the Netherlands and North America, with a particular focus on growing vegetables in high-tech greenhouses.

Nirit Seeds is one of the most successful internationally traded tomato and pepper seed producers, investing in the development of revolutionary genetic technologies. TomaTech is one of the leading tomato seed companies in Israel, developing premium varieties, including those resistant to the dangerous Tomato Brown Ruffle Virus (ToBRFV).

The production of crop seeds is one of the most advanced and high-tech sectors in Israel. According to the Seed Department of the Federation of Israel Chambers of Commerce, seed exports currently generate $200 million in annual revenue. There are about 25 large and medium-sized companies in the local industry.

For reference. According to market research, the global vegetable seed industry is valued at $8 billion a year and is growing at a CAGR of 8%.

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Karachay-Cherkessia became one of the leaders in the production of greenhouse vegetables at the end of 2021


Greenhouse vegetable production in 2021 reached a record 1.4 million tonnes. According to the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation, the leaders among the regions in this segment are the Karachay-Cherkess Republic, Lipetsk, Moscow, Kaluga, Volgograd, Novosibirsk, Saratov, Chelyabinsk regions, Krasnodar and Stavropol Territories, the Republics of Bashkortostan and Tatarstan. These regions account for more than 60% of the total production in the country. The intensive development of greenhouse projects in our country helps to provide Russians with fresh vegetables all year round. Last year, the harvest in winter greenhouses updated the 2020 record – more than 1.4 million tons of products were received. Including the production of cucumbers amounted to at least 830 thousand tons, and tomatoes – 590 thousand tons. It is expected that by 2025 the volume of vegetable production in year-round greenhouses will be at least 1.6 million tons of vegetables.


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December: Special Year Overview

In 2022, it will be 22 year since the new millennium started. Can’t believe it? Neither can we, but it is true. Before we go there, it is time to reflect on what has happened this year. Over the next couple of weeks, we will look back at 2021 and we will highlight the most important events that impacted the industry.

New greenhouses, events, even a few shows, technical novelties, and all other relevant news will pass by, offering you something other than Covid to talk about during Christmas and New Years’.


Wish your customers Happy Holidays
This special also offers an opportunity to put your company in the spotlight with a banner in this special box. This banner can be booked until December 24 on our newsletters. For more information, feel free to send an email to: 

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