TAXONOMY OF TOMATO

TAXONOMY OF TOMATO
Tomato belongs to the family Solanaceae (also known as night shade family), genus Solanum, sub family Solanoidaeae and tribe Solaneae. (Taylor., 1986). The genus include a small collection of cultivated and wild species like S. lycopersicum Milli, wild species like S.peruvianum, S.hirsum, S. glanduosam, S. pinpinellifolium, S.
cheesemannii. Taxonomists recently changed the name as Solanum lycopersicon. The tomato is native to Central and South America. It is a popular and versatile food. In tomato only fruits can be eaten since the leaves contain toxic alkaloids. The cultivated tomato, Solanum lycopersicon, is the second most consumed vegetable worldwide and a well studied crop in terms of genetics, genomics, and breeding. The tomato is a perennial plant but usually grown as an annual plant. It is reported that the tomato plant can reach up to 3metre. The stems are somewhat weak and often require staking or support such as a tomato cage. Branching at the base is monopodial, becomes sympodial higher up. The tomato leaves are 10 to 30cm long and unevenly imparipinnate compound with variously indented or lobed margins. Both the stems and the leaves are slightly rough and fuzzy. The inflorescence of tomato bare small yellow flowers has five pointed lobes on the corolla. The tomato fruits are fleshy berries green when unripe and become deep red and shiny when ripe. The tomato cultivars differ a great deal in size, shape and colour. There are also yellow, orange, green and brown varieties of fruits. The shape can vary from small cherry tomatoes, pear shaped tomatoes to large irregular shaped beefy tomatoes. The shape, size and colour of tomato decide their market value. Number of processed items prepared on large scale for consumption as well as for export using different varieties of tomato.

PRODUCTION OF TOMATO

Previously tomatoes were grown only during favourable season, but nowadays tomatoes are grown round the year. Because of its economic importance, area under cultivation is increasing every year. The estimated area and production of tomato for India are about 3,50,000 hectares and 53,00,000 tons respectively. Worldwide tomato production in 2005 totaled 29.9 million metric tons and production for the 2005/2006 season in Europe totaled 10.6 million metric tons.
    Tomato is the second largest vegetable crop in India. The average productivity of tomato in our country (Nigeria) is merely 158 q/ha while its productivity in USA is 588 q/ha, in Greece 498 q/ha, in Italy 466 q/ha and 465 q/ha in Spain. Ten most promising states of India for tomato crop have been identified and utilized for further study on various aspects of tomato crop.
    Bihar State in India is at leading position followed by UP and Orissa in terms of area under tomato crop. The maximum production and productivity have been showed by UP followed by Karnataka, Punjab, West Bengal and Assam. India’s export of value added tomato products was around 758.6 tons, which included 41tons of canned tomato products, 38 tons tomato juice valued at and 595 tons ketch-up in the year 2005-2006. This accounts for than thousand crores to the Indian economy even with least price like three rupees per kilo. This significant achievement in tomato production is possible due to the development of high yielding varieties/hybrids, breeding for biotic and abiotic stresses, resistance and heterosis breeding.

SPECIES OF TOMATO FRUIT

There are around 7500 tomato varieties grown for various purposes. Heirloom tomatoes are becoming increasingly popular, particularly among home gardeners and organic producers, since they tend to produce more interesting and flavourful crops at the cost of disease resistance and productivity. (Allen,. 2008)
In 1973, Israeli scientists developed the world’s first long shelf-life commercial tomato varieties. (Yissum, 2013)
    Tomato varieties are roughly divided into several categories , based mostly on shape and size.
  • Slicing or globe tomatoes are the usual tomatoes of commerce, used for a wide variety of processing and fresh eating.
  • Beefsteak tomatoes are large tomatoes often used for sandwiches and similar applications. They have kidney-bean shape, thinner skin, and shorter shelf life makes commercial use impractical.
  • Oxheart tomatoes can range in size up to beefsteaks, and are shaped liked large strawberries.
  • Pear tomatoes are pear shaped, and are based upon the San Marzano types for richer gourmet paste.
  • Cherry tomatoes are small and round, often sweet tomatoes generally eaten whole in salads.
  • Grape tomatoes, a more recent introduction, are smaller and oblong, a variation on plum tomatoes, and are used in salads.
  • Campari tomatoes are also sweet and noted for their juiciness, low acidity and lack of mealiness. They are bigger than cherry tomatoes, but are smaller than plum tomatoes.
Finally the best variety of tomato for tomato paste happens to be the PLUM TOMATO. It is also known as a processing tomato or paste tomato, is a type of tomato bred for sauce and packaging purposes. They are generally oval or cylindrical in shape, with significantly fewer locules (seed compartments) than standard round tomatoes (usually only two) and a generally higher solid content, making them more suitable for processing.
Plum tomatoes are also sometimes favoured by cooks for use during the tomato off-season, as they are generally considered more amenable to handling and are therefore available in a state closer to ripe than other super market tomatoes.
Varieties (species) commonly available in markets include;


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