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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Ithaca, New York » Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture & Health » Plant, Soil and Nutrition Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #377584

Research Project: Genetics, Epigenetics, Genomics, and Biotechnology for Fruit and Vegetable Quality

Location: Plant, Soil and Nutrition Research

Title: Tomato

item HEUVELIN, EP - Wageningen University
item OKELLO, ROBERT - National Agricultural Research Organization - Uganda
item PEET, MARY - North Carolina State University
item Giovannoni, James
item DORALES, MARTINE - Laval University

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/12/2020
Publication Date: 5/1/2020
Citation: Heuvelin, E., Okello, R., Peet, M., Giovannoni, J.J., Dorales, M. 2020. Tomato. In: Wien, C.E., Stutzel, H., editors. The Physiology of Vegetable Crops. 2nd edition. Wallingford, United Kingdom: CAB International. p.137-171.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Tomato is the second most important vegetable crop after the potato and the most valuable fruit crop globally. In 1753, Linnaeus named tomato Solanum lycopersicum. Fifteen years later, Philip Miller moved it to its own genus, naming it Lycopersicon esculentum. Genetic evidence has now shown that Linnaeus was correct to put tomato in the genus Solanum, making Solanum lycopersicum L. the correct name. In pre-Columbian times, the tomato was apparently not known to South American Indians since there is no name for it in their languages, no tradition and no archaeological remains in the Andean region. Domestication took place in Mexico where truly wild tomatoes are unknown but weed tomatoes are common in the south of the country. Tomato was first introduced in Europe in the middle of the 16th century, where they were planted as ornamental curiosities, and not eaten. An early introduction was probably yellow, since it was named “pomodoro” (golden apple) in Italy. Because it belongs to the nightshade family, tomato was sometimes considered poisonous, slowing down acceptance, and it is only recently that it became a major food crop. Botanically, a tomato fruit is a berry consisting of seeds within a fleshy pericarp developed from an ovary. Here we describe the biology of tomato fruit, its production, importance and challenges as a global crop.