005 Investigations Into the Cause of Gold Flecking on the Surface of Ripe Tomato Fruit

in HortScience

In recent years there has been an increase in the incidence of “gold flecking,” which develops on the surface of ripe tomato fruit. Gold flecking looks like a light sprinkling of gold on the skin of the fruit. There are no lesions and the interior of the fruit is not affected. Usually, gold flecking is barely noticeable. In 1998, however, gold flecking was severe enough in some cases to cause economic losses. It has been suggested that gold flecking is due to use of the insecticide Asana or it may be a genetic disorder. The objective here was to determine if gold flecking is caused by Asana and/or is cultivar-dependent. Treatments consisted of three cultivars (Mountain Fresh, Celebrity, and Mountain Pride) and four insecticides (Asana XL, Karate 1 EC, Thiodan 50 WP, and a water control). There were two plantings. Only red fruit was harvested. For both plantings, there was more gold flecking in the control than any of the insecticide treatments. There were no differences among the insecticides. For the early planting, `Mountain Fresh' had more gold fleck than the other cultivars. In the late planting, there were no differences between cultivars. This study demonstrates that Asana was not responsible for gold flecking and actually reduced it compared to the control. These results also suggest that insects may play a role in gold flecking.

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