Israeli researchers from leading agricultural institutes have found a new way to combat ToBRFV. In 2015, nearly 50% of tomato crops in southern Israel were wiped out as a result of the fungi attacking plants already weakened by TBRFV.
Dr. Yuval Kaye is director of vegetable research at the Ramat Negev Desert Agro-Research Center. Together with a team of scientists from other research centers around the country, he managed to find a rootstock – the base root portion of a grafted tomato plant – that can resist the fungi. “[Thanks to] the experiments that we did in the past two to three years, we found rootstocks that were more resistant or less affected by the fungi,” Kaye told The Media Line.
Tomato grafting is a horticulture technique in which a scion – the top portion of plant that produces fruit – is grafted onto a rootstock that has been selected for its ability to resist certain pathogens in the soil.
According to Kaye, while the research on fungi-resistant rootstocks has not yet been released to the general public, Israeli farmers have already been made aware of the scientific findings.
“We’re writing our reports and we’ve passed it to the farmers, [who are] already using this knowledge to grow their tomatoes in a better way,” he said.