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  • Author or Editor: Brian B. McSpadden Gardener x
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There is a growing interest by consumers to purchase fresh tomatoes with improved quality traits including lycopene, total soluble solids (TSS), vitamin C, and total titratable acid (TTA) content. As a result, there are considerable efforts by tomato breeders to improve tomato for these traits. However, suitable varieties developed for one location may not perform the same in different locations. This causes a problem for plant breeders because it is too labor-intensive to develop varieties for each specific location. The objective of this study was to determine the extent of genotype × environment (G×E) interaction that influences tomato fruit quality. To achieve this objective, we grew a set of 42 diverse tomato genotypes with different fruit shapes in replicated trials in three locations: North Carolina, New York, and Ohio. Fruits were harvested at the red ripe stage and analyzed for lycopene, TSS, vitamin C, and TTA. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) revealed that there were significant differences (P < 0.05) among tomato genotypes, locations, and their interaction. Further analysis of quality traits from individual locations revealed that there was as much as 211% change in performance of some genotypes in a certain location compared with the average performance of a genotype. Lycopene was found to be most influenced by the environment, whereas TTA was the least influenced. This was in agreement with heritability estimates observed in the study for these quality traits, because heritability estimate for lycopene was 16%, whereas that for TTA was 87%. The extent of G×E interaction found for the fruit quality traits in the tomato varieties included in this study may be useful in identifying optimal locations for future field trials by tomato breeders aiming to improve tomato fruit quality.

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