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Eduardo Bernal and David M. Francis

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Wencai Yang and David M. Francis

The lack of resistance to bacterial diseases increases both the financial cost and environmental impact of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) production while reducing yield and quality. Because several bacterial diseases can be present in the same field, developing varieties with resistance to multiple diseases is a desirable goal. Bacterial spot (caused by four Xanthomonas Dowson species) and bacterial speck (caused by Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato Young, Dye and Wilkie) are two economically important diseases of tomato with a worldwide distribution. The resistance gene Pto confers a hypersensitive response (HR) to race 0 strains of the bacterial speck pathogen. The locus Rx3 explains up to 41% of the variation for resistance to bacterial spot race T1 in field trials, and is associated with HR following infiltration. Both Pto and Rx3 are linked in repulsion phase on chromosome 5. We made a cross between two elite breeding lines, Ohio 981205 carrying Pto and Ohio 9834 carrying Rx3, to develop an F2 population and subsequent inbred generations. Marker-assisted selection (MAS) was applied to the F2 progeny and to F2:3 families in order to select for coupling-phase resistance. Thirteen homozygous progeny from 419 F2 plants and 20 homozygous families from 3716 F3 plants were obtained. Resistance was confirmed in all selected families based on HR in greenhouse screens using bacterial speck race 0 and bacterial spot race T1 isolates. Resistance to bacterial spot race T1 was confirmed in the field for 33 of the selected families. All selected families were also resistant to bacterial speck in the field. MAS was an efficient tool to select for desirable recombination events and pyramid resistance.

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Erik J. Sacks and David M. Francis

The genetic and environmental variation for flesh color of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) fruit was quantified using 41 red-fruited breeding lines, open-pollinated cultivars, and hybrids that are representative of the diversity of tomatoes grown for whole-peel processing in the midwestern and eastern United States and Ontario, Canada. Objective color measurements were made for 2 years from replicated experiments with 2 to 4 blocks per year. Genotypes differed significantly in lightness value (L*), saturation (chroma), and hue angle. Variation within fruit and among fruit in plots accounted for more than 75% of the environmental variation for the color traits. The crimson locus (ogc) accounted for less than one-third of the variation in fruit color among genotypic means, and explained 18% to 27% of the genotypic variation for L*, chroma, and hue. Estimates of variance components were used to develop sampling strategies for improving selection efficiency. Genotypes were identified that may be useful for studying genetic differences that lead to quantitative variation for fruit color in red-fruited populations of tomato.

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Eileen Kabelka, Wencai Yang, and David M. Francis

An inbred backcross (IBC) population derived from Lycopersicon hirsutum LA407 and L. esculentum was evaluated in replicated field trials to assess its potential for the improvement of red-fruited tomatoes. Significant phenotypic variation among genotypes was detected for the hue (tint), L (darkness), and chroma (saturation) of color. Significant effects due to environment and genotype × environment interactions also were observed. One superior inbred backcross line from this population, IBL 2349, was used to develop an F2 population and to explore the genetic basis of color. Two independent L. esculentum quantitative trait loci (QTL) associated with improved color were identified based on linkage to markers mapping to chromosome 4 and chromosome 11. Epistatic interactions were identified between the two L. esculentum loci. Unexpected epistatic interactions also were identified between L. esculentum loci and an LA407 introgression on chromosome 7 present within IBL 2349. The two L. esculentum QTL and the epistatic interactions were confirmed in replicated trials with F3 and F4 families. The loci identified in this study and their epistatic interactions may provide additional tools for the improvement of red-fruited tomatoes in breeding programs.

Free access

Mark A. Bennett, David M. Francis, and Elaine M. Grassbaugh

Ethephon (2-chloroethyl phosphonic acid) has been widely used under field conditions as a growth regulator to trigger the ripening of processing tomatoes prior to mechanical harvesting. Recent interest in whole-peeled and diced tomato products has raised questions about ethephon rates, and possible split applications for top quality. This 3-year field study tested two commercial cultivars of processing tomatoes (`OH8245' and `P696') and the effect of various ethephon applications on fruit firmness, color uniformity, and peeling variables. Transplants were established in mid to late May of 1996–1998 on raised beds in single rows at the OSU/OARDC Veg. Crops Branch in Fremont, Ohio. Ethrel applications for each cultivar were: 0, 0.58, 0.58 × 2 applications, 1.17, 1.17 × 2 applications, 1.75, 2.34, 4.68, and 7.02 L·ha–1. Fruit were tested for firmness, color uniformity, pH, titratable acids, and soluble solids. Samples from ethephon treatments of 0, 1.17 × 2 applications, 2.34, 4.68, and 7.02 L·ha–1 were peeled and canned for color inspection and firmness after 18 months storage. Three-year data for red fruit yield showed a typical response to increasing amounts (0 to 7.0 L·ha–1) of applied ethephon. While high rates (4.7 or 7.0 L·ha–1) gave some of the highest red fruit yields, and the greatest percent red fruit values, high rates were also linked with among the lowest fruit solids values. Split application comparisons showed little influence on quality variables examined in this study. However, chroma values were improved (more vivid color) when 2.3 L·ha–1 was applied vs. 1.17 L·ha–1 applied twice. Split applications also tended to produce softer fruit. Our results suggest that single ethephon applications of 1.17 to 2.34 L·ha–1 provide optimal fruit ripening and quality under midwestern U.S. conditions.

Free access

David M. Francis, Sheryl A. Barringer, and Robert E. Whitmoyer

Yellow shoulder disorder (YSD) is characterized by sectors of yellow or green tissue under the peel of uniform ripening tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) fruit. Tissues excised from sectors of fruit expressing YSD, from adjacent red sectors, and from mature green fruit were used to compare the ultrastructural alterations in cells and tissue affected by YSD and to determine whether the disorder is caused by delayed fruit maturation or by aberrant development. Cells from YSD sectors were smaller than those from both adjacent red-ripe tissue and mature green fruit. The smaller cells from the YSD sectors were at a different developmental stage than cells of the adjacent red-ripe tissue. Chromoplasts in red-ripe tissue were more advanced in development than those in YSD sectors or mature green fruit. Using the transition from chloroplast to chromoplast and the degradation of the middle lamella between adjacent cells as developmental markers, the maturity of tissue from YSD sectors appeared to be equal or greater than that of tissue from mature green fruit. However, cell enlargement, which takes place early in fruit development, was retarded in YSD sectors. Therefore, the ultrastructural features of YSD are not compatible with a delayed ripening model for this blotchy ripening disorder. These observations provide a basis for comparing YSD in uniformly ripening tomatoes with other blotchy ripening disorders.

Free access

Alba A. Clivati McIntyre, David M. Francis, Timothy K. Hartz, and Christopher Gunter

The economics of processing tomato production are driven by soluble solids content, viscosity, color, and color uniformity of the fruit. Ripening disorders that affect color are a major limitation to the economic success of processing whole-peel and diced products. The causes of ripening disorders are not completely understood, although it is clear that soil nutritional status, weather, plant genetics, and interactions among these variables are important factors. We sampled both soil and fruit from fields in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana and were able to correlate soil fertility properties and fruit color. The correlation between soil properties and fruit color was different for fine- and coarse-textured soils. Fine-textured soils presented more frequent, but weaker, correlations with absolute color and within-fruit color differences when compared with coarse-textured soils. For fine-textured soils, exchangeable K correlated with a measure of within-fruit variation, L* difference (L*diff; r = −0.21, P < 0.01). Other measurements of K nutrition, K·Mg−½ ratio, Kact, and K%CEC, all correlated to the same extent (r = −0.29, P < 0.01). The highest correlations were identified between soil-available P and L* (r = −0.33, P < 0.01) and L*diff (r = −0.31, P < 0.01). In coarse-textured soils, exchangeable K correlated with L* (r = −0.373, P < 0.05), b* (r = −0.49, P < 0.01) and Hue° (r = −0.37, P < 0.05). K·Mg−½ ratio and Kact yielded higher correlation coefficients with absolute color measurements when compared with fine-textured soils. Soil-available P was correlated with L* (r = −0.375, P < 0.05), a* (r = 0.49, P < 0.01), Hue° (r = −0.46, P < 0.01), and C* (r = 0.40, P < 0.01). For coarse soils, K·Mg−½ ratio, Kact, and available P were important properties when the color of tomato fruit is of value. In all cases, higher exchangeable K and P nutrient status had a positive correlation with fruit color. Our sampling could not detect interactions among weather, genetics, and soil, and further work will be necessary to clearly describe the role of interactions in determining fruit quality in tomatoes.

Free access

Audrey Darrigues, Jack Hall, Esther van der Knaap, David M. Francis, Nancy Dujmovic, and Simon Gray

Measuring plant characteristics via image analysis has the potential to increase the objectivity of phenotypic evaluations, provides data amenable to quantitative analysis, and is compatible with databases that aim to combine phenotypic and genotypic data. We describe a new tool, which is implemented in the Tomato Analyzer (TA) software application, called Color Test (TACT). This tool allows for accurate quantification of color and color uniformity, and allows scanning devices to be calibrated using color standards. To test the accuracy and precision of TACT, we measured internal fruit color of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) with a colorimeter and from scanned images. We show high correlations (r > 0.96) and linearity of L*, a*, and b* values obtained with TACT and the colorimeter. We estimated genotypic variances associated with color parameters and show that the proportion of total phenotypic variance attributed to genotype for color and color uniformity measured with TACT was significantly higher than estimates obtained from the colorimeter. Genotypic variance nearly doubled for all color and color uniformity traits when collecting data with TACT. This digital phenotyping technique can also be applied to the characterization of color in other fruit and vegetable crops.

Free access

Peter J. Zale, Daniel K. Struve, Pablo Jourdan, and David M. Francis

Breeding and development of ornamental woody plants for specific ideotypes will provide diverse choices to meet specific needs for natural and constructed landscapes. An F1 half-sib family analysis of Magnolia virginiana generated from controlled pollinations was implemented to identify potential juvenile selection strategies for two mature ideotypes: a compact and rounded shrub form (to 2.5 m tall and wide) and a single-stemmed, small tree form (to 4 m tall), both with abundant flowering. The 2-year test was conducted in a container nursery. Fourteen traits were measured in 2007 and 2008, including height at three intervals (July, August, and September), mean branch length and branch count, early and late flower production, collar sprout formation, stem diameter, and branch angle. There were significant differences between F1 half-sib families (P ≤ 0.0001) for all traits. Phenotypic and genetic correlations and narrow sense heritability were estimated for these traits. Phenotypic and genetic correlations showed favorable associations among branch count, caliper, and early flower production. These traits were used to form a selection index for a shrub ideotype. Also, there were positive phenotypic and genetic correlations between height and late flower production, which were both negatively correlated with collar sprout formation. These traits were used to form a selection index for the single-stemmed, small tree ideotype. Narrow sense heritabilities were high for most traits in 2007 but were lower in 2008. Results suggest that selection of phenotypes ranking highest for the traits of interest may yield the desired ideotypes. However, introduction of additional genetic variation through new germplasm accessions may be necessary to maintain breeding progress.