UF Scientist Works on Improving Tomato Production, Size (UF/IFAS Blogs)

UF Scientist Works on Improving Tomato Production, Size

Florida growers produced 606 million pounds of fresh-market tomatoes last year, which brought in $463 million in revenue. But with competition from places like Mexico, farmers are always looking for an edge – to grow more and bigger fruit.

That’s why University of Florida scientist Tong Geon Lee spends countless hours in his lab and fields looking for the right combination of genes to expand the size of individual tomatoes and to help growers increase their yields.

“Fruit size, especially large fruit, is a particularly important trait for fresh-market tomato production, especially in the United States, because of the market demand,” said Lee, a UF/IFAS assistant professor of horticultural sciences at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center. “I’m particularly interested in the size and quantity of fruit per plant. Growers could make more money if they have tomato plants that produce more large fruit on each plant. I’m also interested in other yield-related traits such as longer shelf life.”

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