Research

Mission Statement
Founded in 1968, The California Tomato Research Institute, Inc. is a non-profit organization of processing tomato growers. As the industry's research sponsor, the Institute's purpose is to identify, fund and direct research to maintain and enhance the economic viability of California's processing tomato industry with emphasis on production, product quality and the environment.

The CTRI program is comprised of short and long term projects

Crop Production Project Objectives 

  • Focus on Limiting Factor Management
  • Improve Monitoring, Diagnosis & Decision System Improvement on:
    • Diseases, Insects, Weed Management, Crop Nutrition, Irrigation
    • Represent industry on crop regulatory issues
    • Facilitate commercial product development by providing researcher coordination, field trials and market analysis,
  •   Variety Improvement Projects
    • Focus on improving consistent Yield & Quality
    • Statewide Field Trials
    • Molecular Marker Development of Disease and Insect Resistance
    • Soluble Solids Enhancement
    • Heat Set Ability and Salinity/Drought Tolerance Cooperative Projects
    • Alliance with the California League of Food Processoron crop quality improvement projects
    • Formation of funding partnerships beneficial to growers,with other agencies

       

2017 Processing Tomato Research Projects

Sponsored by the California Tomato Research Institute

 

1. Agronomic Research

  • Optimizing irrigation and fertility in organic processing tomato farming systems – Kate Scow: This project will study sub-surface drip impacts on soil health and water-use efficiency.  The proposal is designed to help determine which organic fertilizer inputs maximize yield while reducing water use; and how SSDI/furrow irrigation interacts with solid, liquid, and mixed fertilizer use to impact the farm as a whole.

2. Insect Management

  • Identifying genetic resistance for Liberibacter solanacerum management - Clare Casteel: Psyllid transmitted tomato yellows can be a serious defect to peeled and diced tomatoes.  While currently rare, increasing psyllid populations are our cue to begin work on this potential problem.  The potato industry is already experiencing loss to the related zebra chip disease.  Work is on the pathogen, not the insect.

3. Germplasm & Variety Development

  • CM Rick Tomato Genetics Resource Center - Roger Chetelat: Annual support of the valuable germplasm bank.  The Center serves as a warehouse for genetic materials used in many processing tomato research projects.  To ensure this repository continues to serve our industry, CTRI in 2016 contributed $100,000 to the Rick Center Endowment Fund in addition to our annual support.
  • Discovering, identifying and testing wild tomato genes that contribute to water stress tolerance - Dina St. Clair: Two complimentary projects seeking to identify and test “wild” genetic materials with potential to improve the water use efficiency of commercial processing tomato varieties.

4. Disease Management

  • Evaluation of Fungicides, Bio-Pesticides and Soil Amendments for the Control of Southern Blight of Processing Tomatoes - Joe Nuñez: Continuation of intensive field trials with active stakeholder participation.  This is the sixth year of continually refined.  Project will move to the Kern County Research Farm in Shafter to test more difficult to execute and aggressive crop protection treatments. 
  • Detection, monitoring and biological properties of the resistance-breaking strain of TSWV in California - Bob Gilbertson: Resistance breaking (RB) TSWV strains are here, and they already pose a major threat to all growing regions and the utility of resistant varieties.  Work seeks to develop resistance management tools.
  • Isolation and characterization of the root?parasitic fungus Plectosphaerella cucumerina from processing tomatoes - Johan Leveau: A prudent evaluation into the characterization of  a newly found fungus isolated from tomato fields.

 Nematode Management

  • Evaluation of Alternative Nematicides for the Control of Root-Knot Nematodes of Processing Tomatoes - Joe Nuñez: Proposal is for rotation experiments to develop resistance management practices with Nimitz® and to test other promising nematicide products at the Kern County Research Farm.
  • Characterization of resistance-breaking root-knot nematodes - Antoon Ploeg: The same team that identified Nimitz® is now working on broader nematode resistance management.  Continued support for processing tomato nematode research at UC Riverside to develop and expand  nematology resources for processing tomato Farm Advisors.  Current research on resistant strain characterization will contribute to developing resistant genetics, but that is not a current major goal. 

Fusarium Diseases

  • Pathogen characterization of Two Fusarium Species - Tom Gordon, Hung Doan: Completion of a major requested project to molecularly identify fusarium race 3.  The technique will enable most labs to quickly identify the race of wilt affected plants.  This will be especially important as F3 resistant varieties gain popularity and subsequent fields exhibit wilt-type symptoms.  It will help industry preserve F3 resistance and sets the stage for F4 resistance detection.
  • Management of Fusarium wilt race 3 with Dip Treatments - Scott Stoddard: A series of grower field trials to test the label claims of several fungicides in the control or suppression of Fusarium wilt race 3.  Project is designed to help growers better value the utility of at-planting treatments.
  • Tracking down Typhoid Mary: Rotation crop as hidden hosts of F3 - Cassandra Swett: A survey proposal that may uncover rotation connections that may  have been overlooked.  The project also funds the vegetable crops diagnostic laboratory.  CTRI welcomes Dr. Swett back to California as the new Extension Vegetable Crops Pathology Specialist.
  • Effects of irrigation practices on Fusarium wilt of processing tomato - Cassandra Swett: Researcher brings previous personal work on water / pathogen research and develops an application to F3.  Previous work indicates modification of some practices may reduce disease loss.

Curly Top virus

  • Use of Beet Leafhopper Repellents to Manage Curly Top of Tomatoes - Joe Nuñez: Large replicated field tests of kaolin clay sprays and other products from unrelatred projects to screen for activity as visual repellants to beet leafhopper.  High local grower interest and cooperation.
  • Reducing insect virus vectors of Beet Curly Top Virus in processing tomatoes through soil health management - Amélie Gaudin: Proposal seeks to assess the impact of soil health management practices (cover crops, compost and humic substances) on tomato susceptibility to insect virus vectors.  Second year work in the field.
  • Developing New Management Techniques for Vector-Borne Diseases of Tomato - Clare Casteel: A novel approach, testing the use of ethylene inhibitors for management of transplant susceptibility to reduce incidental leafhopper feeding and curly top transmission.   First year was inconclusive for ethylene response, second year work will include leafhopper on tomato.

Foliar Diseases

  • Evaluation of Chemical Control of Bacterial Speck - Gene Miyao: Continuation of the basic field evaluation of newer control products.  This proposal focuses on extra-early plantings in replicated plots on the UC Davis campus.
  • Bacterial canker of tomato: examining strain relationships and testing PCR primer specificity - Gitta Coaker: This proposal seeks a second year to validate markers developed in earlier projects with both known and new field strains from the 2016 growing season.  Canker has been of small significance in recent dry years, but is still considered a major seed production concern.  An effective canker identification program will help seed suppliers further reduce seed contamination risk.

 

5. Weed Management

  • Automatic Vision Guided Weed Control System for Processing Tomatoes - David Slaughter: A continuing proposal for a universal problem.  This is a partnership grant with USDA to build a new machine vision system for processing tomatoes.