Scientists create new pesticide-free tomato varieties

There are currently over 1 000 varieties of tomatoes, with each person in France said to eat 12 kilos a year

Scientists in France have created two new varieties of tomatoes, with an attractive colour, shape, and melt-in-the-mouth taste, and which do not require pesticides to thrive.

Researchers at the Institut National de la Recherche Agroalimentaire (Inra) presented the two new varieties after 10 years of work, in a bid to create tomatoes with a strong flavour and a round and colourful appearance.

The new fruits are also adept at being transported; are resistant to crop diseases, and stay fresh and edible for up to a week when stored at ambient temperatures.

The two as-yet-unnamed varieties, created by Inra lead engineer René Damidaux, do not require pesticides to grow, and are not genetically modified. In fact, no GM tomato is currently on the market anywhere in the world.

The two varieties will now be tested in restaurants, cafes, and snack bars, before being released to the general public.

Restaurateurs across the country are set to receive 70 tonnes of the tomatoes, and up to 1 000 tonnes from 2018 should all go well.

Price-wise, the varieties are intended to be affordable. “This is not a luxury tomato,” explained Philippe Mauguin, CEO of Inra, speaking to consumer website Réponse Conso.

The two new varieties come five years after Inra released the ‘Garance’ tomato in 2012, which was aimed at organic farmers and amateur gardeners, thanks to its pesticide-resistant qualities.

However, the new fruit could surpass ‘Garance’.

“This tomato is tasty, resistant to illness [without pesticides], and can be transported without deterioration,” stated Damidaux.

There are currently over 1 000 varieties of tomatoes, and the fruit is one of the most popular in France, with each person said to eat 12 kilos every year.

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