Mannon Gallegly, West Virginia University professor emeritus of plant pathology, has made it his mission to develop a disease-free tomato.
Gallegly and his research partner, Mahfuz Rahman, released two new varieties of tomato….
The tomatoes, identified as West Virginia ’17A and West Virginia ’17B, were obtained by breeding the tomatoes known as the West Virginia ’63 and the Iron Lady. Gallegly developed the W.Va. ’63 tomato in the 1960s as a tomato resistant to late blight, a plant disease usually caused by fungi. The Iron Lady tomato, developed by Martha Mutschler-Chu of Cornell University, also resists late blight but also Septoria lycopersici, a fungus that causes spotting on leaves.
Gallegly said the stink bug, specifically the marmorated stink bug, is the likely cause of Septoria increasing on tomatoes.
“We just crossed the two tomatoes and in the second generation in the field, we made selections for fruit type, yield, taste and so on,” Gallegly said. “So we came up with two new varieties.”
Through their evaluation, the two tomatoes should have a higher tolerance to Septoria leaf spot and better fruit quality.
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