Effective Transgenic Resistance to
Bacterial Leaf Spot in Florida Tomatoes
By Diana Horvath, Ph.D.
Two Blades Foundation
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This presentation will help consultants, growers, and other practitioners primarily in the Southeastern U.S. region to understand a new approach to fighting bacterial spot disease of tomato, which is widespread in hot, humid growing areas and chronically the most significant disease of the Florida fresh market tomato industry. This presentation describes key features of the causal agent, Xanthomonas, and details the conception and execution of the resistance strategy, which has been achieved through the introduction of a common disease resistance gene from pepper by transgenic methods. Field trial data and photos demonstrating the significant reduction in disease severity and increased yield are shown. The issues of regulatory approvals and consumer concerns are discussed. By the end of this presentation, the practitioner should know more about a new tool in development that can help to control this significant disease, eliminate ineffective copper treatments and increase yields, as well as to learn more about what is involved in bringing a transgenic crop to market.