Early and late blight may have met their match with the introduction of new tomato varieties next season that are resistant to the two bacterial diseases.
The new hybrids are the result of work by Cornell University plant breeder Martha Mutschler and plant pathologist Tom Zitter.
Seed companies are using the breeding lines to develop commercial hybrids.
The new varieties aren’t totally resistant to the two diseases. Instead, growers can get by with using low-impact pesticides and fewer applications to achieve the same results as using conventional germplasm and traditional pesticides, according to a news release.
Mutschler and Zitter’s work was spurred prompted by some early blight pathogens developing resistance to strobilurins, a widely used fungicide class.
In the process, they also discovered a high occurrence of Septoria leaf spot in the study’s early stages, prompting them to launch a new effort to add Septoria resistance. The results are triple resistant lines.