TomGEM: Taking tomato forward

The World Vegetable Center is a partner in EU project to improve yield and quality of tomato varieties and management practices in the face of climate change.


Fresh fruits and vegetables are essential components of a healthy diet and provide an important source of vitamins, minerals, fibres and antioxidants. However, in the face of rapidly changing and increasingly extreme climate conditions, there is a need to design new strategies to maintain high yields of fruit and vegetables produced in unprecedented environmental conditions.

An important objective of breeders is to select varieties with better fitness to adverse conditions, and to limit environmental impacts on crop production and quality by optimising genotypes and horticultural management practices. Against this backdrop, the recently launched TomGEM project sets out to design new strategies to maintain high yields of fruit and vegetables produced in harsh temperature conditions, using tomato as a reference fleshy fruit crop.

Funded by the European Union with a total budget of € 5.6 million over the next 4 years, TomGEM will consider all developmental processes contributing to yield, and will implement trans-disciplinary approaches to investigate the impact of high temperatures on these traits. “Fruit production is determined by the interaction of genetic and environmental factors, as well as by horticultural management practices,” said TomGEM coordinator Prof. Mondher Bouzayen, from the Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse, France. “So if we gain a better understanding of these factors, we will be able to translate scientific insight into practical strategies for handling the interactions between genotype, environment and management, and to thus offer holistic solutions to the challenge of increasing food quality and productivity in the face of global warming.”

Research activities of the consortium consisting of 18 partner institutions from Europe, Argentina and Taiwan will deal with the mining of a vast range of genetic resources to identify cultivars/genotypes displaying yield stability under heat stress conditions and to uncover loci/genes controlling flower initiation, pollen fertility and fruit set. Once these loci/genes are characterized, the ultimate goal will be to design strategies for pyramiding the favorable versions of these loci into a single genotype that can serve as a parent line in tomato breeding.

High yield and elevated temperatures can be detrimental to quality traits. Therefore, TomGEM will also tackle the issue of fruit quality under elevated temperatures, and develop innovative breeding and management strategies to provide tomato producers with commercial varieties that ensure high yield under heat stress conditions with no penalties in terms of fruit quality, for a broad range of geographic conditions.


TomGEM partners:

Universidad de Buenos Aires

Maritsa Vegetable Crops Research Institute

Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique
Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse
SAS Rougeline

European Research and Project Office GmbH
Max Planck Gesellschaft zur Foerderung der Wissenschaften e.V.

Alma Seges Soc. Cop.
Biotecgen SRL
Università degli studi di Napoli Federico II

Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas
Enza Zaden España S.L.
Fundación Cajamar Comunidad Valenciana

World Vegetable Center
National Taiwan University

John Innes Centre
Royal Holloway and Bedford New College
Norfolk Plant Sciences Ltd


Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse
Prof. Mondher Bouzayen
Phone: +33 534323871

Project Management
European Research and Project Office GmbH
Dr Verena Peuser
Phone: +49 30 374415-832