Improving tomato yield and quality in the face of climate change

TomGEM - a Horizon 2020 research project designs heat-tolerant tomato varieties and management practices

In the light of the forecasted world demographic growth and the global changes in climate, it is becoming a major challenge for society to provide sufficient amounts of fruit of high nutritional and sensory quality. While we are entering a period of increasingly rapid climate change, TomGEM aims to design new strategies to maintain high yields of fruit and vegetables produced at harsh temperature conditions, using the tomato as a reference fleshy fruit crop. TomGEM considers all developmental processes contributing to yield; including flower initiation, pollen fertility and fruit set and implements trans-disciplinary approaches to investigate the impact of high temperature on these traits. TomGEM applies a multi-actor approach involving tomato producers and breeders to provide new targets and innovative breeding and management strategies to foster breeding of new tomato cultivars with improved yield under suboptimal temperature conditions.

TomGEM addresses yield stability in high temperature conditions with the aim to produce or yield superior genotypes that are better adapted to high temperature conditions. TomGEM aims to understand the factors behind high temperature tolerance and addresses the issue of yield stability in adverse environmental conditions such as high temperatures. TomGEM is unique in a way that it gathers complementary expertise from academic and non-academic partners that contribute and converge their knowledge, resources and methodologies to address this one single question – the question of high yield under high temperature condition.

Mondher Bouzayen, TomGEM coordinator
What TomGEM is about?
  • The TomGEM Kick-off meeting was organised together with the G2P-SOL consortium to foster networking and discuss potential interaction between the two initiatives. Both projects will be examining the genetic diversity of solanaceous crops with the aims of identifying and breeding varieties with more suitable traits.

    Meet the TomGEM team
  • Prof. Cathie Martin (John Innes Centre, UK) outlines how TomGEM tackles the problems rising temperatures cause for tomato production by performing studies in warmer regions of Bulgaria, Spain, Italy and Argentina.

    Meet the TomGEM team
  • Prof. Antonio Granell (CSIC, Spain) highlights how the large diversity of tomato traits available from traditional varieties and wild relatives allows the selection of heritable traits. TomGEM aims to do crosses between selected varieties to achieve better heat tolerance in tomatoes.

    Meet the TomGEM team
  • Dr. Carlos Baixauli (Fundación Cajamar Comunidad Valenciana, Spain) explains why temperature is the most decisive environmental factor for tomatoes. Even a small increase in temperature can cause many problems for tomato growth and development.

    Meet the TomGEM team

TomGEM Vision

  • Vision 1
    29+ °C

    Climate change threatens global crop production

  • Vision 2
    4.8M ha

    Area of tomato production is the same size as Slovakia

  • Vision 3
    162 MT

    Weight of annual tomato production is roughly equal to that of cattle and swine produce combined

  • Vision 4
    18-29 °C

    Ideal growth temperatures for tomatoes

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