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Scientists try to recuperate the germplasm

Argentinian researchers use 100 year-old seeds to find new flavors

The tomato is Argentina's go-to vegetable to accompany almost any dish. However, they can only get two varieties at the grocery stores: round or pear tomatoes.

Due to this limitation, scientists from the Faculty of Agronomy of the UBA (Fauba) and Conicet, are seeking to recover the germplasm of the old tomato varieties that were consumed during the first decades of the twentieth century.

According to Conicet researcher Dr. Fernando Carrari, "we are already harvesting the first tomatoes obtained from seed varieties used in the orchards almost one hundred years ago.

Doctor Carrari said that they thought tomatoes had lost much of their flavor because of the profound change in the modes of production since the 70s.

According to the specialist, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, production and marketing were governed by seasonality and proximity.

Due to the change in production modes and the extended consumption throughout the year, producers chose the seeds that offered fruits with a greater amount of water and the appropriate shape to facilitate harvesting under controlled growing conditions.

At the end of this experiment, the scientists hope to offer these old seeds to local producers to be re-marketed. They also plan to create a germplasm bank to continue researching and genetically improving them.


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