May 10, 2021
TomaTech cracks the code for ToBRFV-resistant tomatoes

Rehovot, Israel-based TomaTech Ltd., announced May 10 an advancement in the fight against the Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus (ToBRFV), which has caused significant economic damage estimated as much as billions of dollars in the last few years globally.

Lead by Assaf Eybishitz Ph.D., the company furthered the fight against this pandemic of the tomato world by filing for a provisional patent for identifying the DNA markers correlated to its resistant traits which will accelerate the breeding and commercialization of high resistance non-GMO tomato varieties.

“Following years of intensive R&D efforts, TomatTech has succeeded  in identifying DNA markers that elicit resistance to ToBRFV,” Ofer Ben Zvi, CEO of TomaTech, said in a news release. “This discovery will allow us to rapidly develop a complete portfolio of resistant tomatoe varieties for global introduction and will benefit the growers and the entire value chain, providing a consistent supply chain while lowering production costs.”

ToBRFV virus

The ToBRFV virus has been inflicting havoc on in-door tomato plantations globally since 2014, affecting a broad spectrum of tomatoes, from sweet cherry lines to full-sized beefsteak tomatoes. Outbreaks have overwhelmed greenhouses across the North America, Europe, and the Middle East and is spreading to other regions.

The appearance of ToBRFV on commercial tomato cultivations presented a substantialthreat to tomato growers and to the entire value chain around the world, causing severe damage to commercial varieties. It already has led to colossal losses inyields, ranging from 30% in losses to devastating entire crops.

Due to the virus’ ability to rapidly spread via mechanic transmission, especially under intense production practices, hygiene protocols have been imposed that require farmers to wear full protective gear and fully isolate virus-infected greenhouses.

Development of a portfolio of resistant varieties requires exceptional phenotyping and genotyping capabilities. TomaTech targeted virus resistance as one of its top R&D goals and has been working intensively since 2017 to develop new sources of resistance and the new cultivars.

“The ability to find strong resistance as well as identify DNA markers, protecting our IP through submission of provisional patent application, demonstrates TomaTech’s capabilities to position itself at the front line in the research and breeding of the tomatoes varieties for the global market,” explains Favi Vidavski, PhD, president and head of R&D of TomaTech.

Identifying DNA markers

“We developed an advanced highly efficient screening system based on controlled inoculation and molecular technology where we continually tested tens of thousands of tomato plants under the most severe conditions,” explains Vidavski. “We reached a breakthrough a year ago with the discovery of specific DNA markers that proved instrumental in helping us isolate, identify and introduce ToBRFV-resistant genes, which we bred into our principal commercial tomato varieties.

Intermediate resistance vs. high resistance

TomaTech have already introduced intermediate resistance (IR) capabilities across its entire breeding program while concurrently broadening efforts to attain the next stage of high resistance (HR), projected to be completed in the near future.

“We have successfully identified and produced an impressive portfolio of commercial ToBRFV-resistant (IR) tomatoes that already are available for our customers,” enthuses Vidavski.

TomaTech’s innovation can be applied to a comprehensive range of tomato varieties across all segments and can be adapted to both heated and non-heated greenhouses. TomaTech will continue to invest efforts and agronomical inputs to bring real solutions to growers.

“Since its first appearance in 2014, the ToBRFV virus has presented a heavy burden for growers around the globe and for many dealt a heavy blow to their crops,” adds Ben Zvi. “Our unique breeding methodology not only boosts resilience but also positively enhances flavor and fruit quality characteristics, ensuring that the needs of retailers are met and that consumers will have continuous access to healthy, attractive, and flavorful tomato varieties.”

TomaTech focuses exclusively on the development of innovative, superior quality, hybrid tomatoes. The company uses cutting-edge molecular-marker technology combined with classical breeding techniques to tailor its varieties to deliver ongoing innovative, productive, and flavorful tomatoes. TomaTech offers professional, personalized services that are attentive, flexible, and responsive to its customers’ needs.

For more information, visit here.

Current Issue


High tunnels help Sugar Top Farm fight insects, heat

Comparing nitrogen management technologies

MSU studies potato early die complex

High tunnel boost: Improve production

GL EXPO: ‘Fancy Lady Cowgirl’ and the digital market space


see all current issue »

Be sure to check out our other specialty agriculture brands

produceprocessingsm Organic Grower