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The first 'Poncho negro' tomato seeds, from the PASSA project carried out by INIA Chile, germinate

'Poncho negro' is a local Chilean tomato variety that has a certain tolerance to salinity, a quality that will be improved to use it as a rootstock alternative in commercial varieties for fresh consumption in Chile.

1/25/2021

Researcher at INIA La Cruz with tomato 'Poncho negro'.

In the laboratory of Plant Physiology and Molecular Biology of INIA La Cruz (Chile) the work of washing, disinfection and scarification of the seeds of the tomato variety “Poncho Negro” begins, applying all sterilization protocols to avoid possible contamination. All this is part of a study that aims to obtain tomato plants that require less water and are tolerant to saline soils.

This is the PASSA project (Plant abiotic stress for sustainable agriculture) where the characteristics of the “Black Poncho” are studied, a local Chilean variety native to the Azapa Valley that has a certain tolerance to salinity and that will be used to improve its tolerance to salinity as a rootstock alternative in commercial varieties for fresh consumption in Chile.

Sharp eyes and hands that carefully manipulate laboratory instruments are qualities that Camila Martínez Mery and Karen Farías Grollmus have cultivated. The professionals are in charge of the seedling preparation tasks to achieve the germination of the seeds of the black poncho tomato. In four days, the plants are ready to be placed in the greenhouse under controlled conditions where they are permanently evaluated by specialized teams. Karen Farías Grollmus, agronomist engineer and biotechnology technician Camila Martínez Mery, in a neat and meticulous work, are the female gaze of our center in charge of these tasks.

INIA La Cruz is an institution associated with the PASSA project (Plant abiotic stress for sustainable agriculture) of the "Science and Technology Research Ring" contest, Associative Research Program (PIA) of the National Research and Development Agency (ANID), where Dr. Juan Pablo Martínez is principal investigator at INIA-La Cruz.

Dra. Claudia Stange, researcher at the Center for Plant Molecular Biology of the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Chile is the project director. The researcher from the Institute of Agricultural Research of INIA La Cruz, Dr. Juan Pablo Martínez, who leads the group Physiology and Plant Molecular Biology (GFBMV), together with professionals from the Center for Plant Molecular Biology of the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Chile and of the Cellular Biotechnology Laboratory of the Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources of the Arturo Prat University.

According to Dr. Juan Pablo Martínez, "this project is an opportunity to generate new rootstocks in tomato using cutting-edge biotechnological tools such as gene editing". He added that, "one of the tasks of the project is precisely the germination tasks in charge of the laboratory teams that are dedicated to increasing and obtaining seeds to ensure that the research processes with this type of seed are viable and of quality".

Salinity is a limiting factor when it comes to producing tomatoes. For this reason, the results of this project directed by the University of Chile in association with INIA La Cruz will be very relevant.


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