The tomato is the edible, often red, berry of the plant Solanum lycopersicum, commonly known as a tomato plant. The species originated in western South America. The Nahuatl (Aztec language) word tomatl gave rise to the Spanish word tomate, from which the English word tomato derived. Its use as a cultivated food may have originated with the indigenous peoples of Mexico. The Spanish encountered the tomato from their contact with the Aztec during the Spanish colonization of the Americas and brought it to Europe. From there, the tomato was introduced to other parts of the European-colonized world during the 16th century.
The tomato is consumed in diverse ways, raw or cooked, in many dishes, sauces, salads, and drinks. While tomatoes are fruits — botanically classified as berries — they are commonly used as a vegetable ingredient or side dish.
Numerous varieties of the tomato plant are widely grown in temperate climates across the world, with greenhouses allowing for the production of tomatoes throughout all seasons of the year. Tomato plants typically grow to 1–3 meters (3–10 ft) in height. They are vines that have a weak stem that sprawls and typically needs support. Indeterminate tomato plants are perennials in their native habitat, but are cultivated as annuals. Determinate, or bush, plants are annuals that stop growing at a certain height and produce a crop all at once. The size of the tomato varies according to the cultivar, with a range of 0.5–4 inches (1.3–10.2 cm) in width.
|Cross-section and intact view of a hothouse tomato grown in a greenhouse|
Lycopersicon lycopersicum (L.) H. Karst.
The word "tomato" comes from the Spanish tomate, which in turn comes from the Nahuatl word tomatl [ˈtomat͡ɬ], meaning "the swelling fruit". The native Mexican tomatillo is tomate (in Nahuatl: tomātl pronunciation (help·info), meaning "fat water" or "fat thing"). When Aztecs started to cultivate the Andean fruit to be larger, sweeter, and red, they called the new species xitomatl (or jitomates) (pronounced [ʃiːˈtomatɬ]), ("plump with navel" or "fat water with navel"). The scientific species epithet lycopersicum is interpreted literally from Latin in the 1753 book, Species Plantarum, as "wolfpeach", where wolf is from lyco and peach is from persicum.
The usual pronunciations of "tomato" are /təˈmeɪtoʊ/ (usual in American English) and /təˈmɑːtoʊ/ (usual in British English). The word's dual pronunciations were immortalized in Ira and George Gershwin's 1937 song "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" ("You like /pəˈteɪtoʊ/ and I like /pəˈtɑːtoʊ/ / You like /təˈmeɪtoʊ/ and I like /təˈmɑːtoʊ/") and have become a symbol for nitpicking pronunciation disputes. In this capacity, it has even become an American and British slang term: saying "/təˈmeɪtoʊ təˈmɑːtoʊ/" when presented with two choices can mean "What's the difference?" or "It's all the same to me".
Botanically, a tomato is a fruit—a berry, consisting of the ovary, together with its seeds, of a flowering plant. However, the tomato is considered a "culinary vegetable" because it has a much lower sugar content than culinary fruits; it is typically served as part of a salad or main course of a meal, rather than as a dessert. Tomatoes are not the only food source with this ambiguity; bell peppers, cucumbers, green beans, eggplants, avocados, and squashes of all kinds (such as zucchini and pumpkins) are all botanically fruit, yet cooked as vegetables. This has led to legal dispute in the United States. In 1887, U.S. tariff laws that imposed a duty on vegetables, but not on fruit, caused the tomato's status to become a matter of legal importance. The U.S. Supreme Court settled this controversy on May 10, 1893, by declaring that the tomato is a vegetable, based on the popular definition that classifies vegetables by use—they are generally served with dinner and not dessert (Nix v. Hedden (149 U.S. 304)). The holding of this case applies only to the interpretation of the Tariff of 1883, and the court did not purport to reclassify the tomato for botanical or other purposes.
Tomato plants are vines, initially decumbent, typically growing 180 cm (6 ft) or more above the ground if supported, although erect bush varieties have been bred, generally 100 cm (3 ft) tall or shorter. Indeterminate types are "tender" perennials, dying annually in temperate climates (they are originally native to tropical highlands), although they can live up to three years in a greenhouse in some cases. Determinate types are annual in all climates.
Tomato plants are dicots, and grow as a series of branching stems, with a terminal bud at the tip that does the actual growing. When that tip eventually stops growing, whether because of pruning or flowering, lateral buds take over and grow into other, fully functional, vines.
Tomato vines are typically pubescent, meaning covered with fine short hairs. These hairs facilitate the vining process, turning into roots wherever the plant is in contact with the ground and moisture, especially if the vine's connection to its original root has been damaged or severed.
Most tomato plants have compound leaves, and are called regular leaf (RL) plants, but some cultivars have simple leaves known as potato leaf (PL) style because of their resemblance to that particular relative. Of RL plants, there are variations, such as rugose leaves, which are deeply grooved, and variegated, angora leaves, which have additional colors where a genetic mutation causes chlorophyll to be excluded from some portions of the leaves.
The leaves are 10–25 cm (4–10 in) long, odd pinnate, with five to 9 leaflets on petioles, each leaflet up to 8 cm (3 in) long, with a serrated margin; both the stem and leaves are densely glandular-hairy.
Their flowers, appearing on the apical meristem, have the anthers fused along the edges, forming a column surrounding the pistil's style. Flowers in domestic cultivars can be self-fertilizing. The flowers are 1–2 cm (0.4–0.8 in) across, yellow, with five pointed lobes on the corolla; they are borne in a cyme of three to 12 together.
Tomato fruit is classified as a berry. As a true fruit, it develops from the ovary of the plant after fertilization, its flesh comprising the pericarp walls. The fruit contains hollow spaces full of seeds and moisture, called locular cavities. These vary, among cultivated species, according to type. Some smaller varieties have two cavities, globe-shaped varieties typically have three to five, beefsteak tomatoes have a great number of smaller cavities, while paste tomatoes have very few, very small cavities.
For propagation, the seeds need to come from a mature fruit, and be dried or fermented before germination.
In 1753, Linnaeus placed the tomato in the genus Solanum (alongside the potato) as Solanum lycopersicum. In 1768, Philip Miller moved it to its own genus, naming it Lycopersicon esculentum. This name came into wide use, but was technically in breach of the plant naming rules because Linnaeus's species name lycopersicum still had priority. Although the name Lycopersicum lycopersicum was suggested by Karsten (1888), this is not used because it violates the International Code of Nomenclature barring the use of tautonyms in botanical nomenclature. The corrected name Lycopersicon lycopersicum (Nicolson 1974) was technically valid, since Miller's genus name and Linnaeus's species name differ in exact spelling, but since Lycopersicon esculentum has become so well known, it was officially listed as a nomen conservandum in 1983, and would be the correct name for the tomato in classifications which do not place the tomato in the genus Solanum.
Genetic evidence has now shown that Linnaeus was correct to put the tomato in the genus Solanum, making Solanum lycopersicum the correct name. Both names, however, will probably be found in the literature for some time. Two of the major reasons for considering the genera separate are the leaf structure (tomato leaves are markedly different from any other Solanum), and the biochemistry (many of the alkaloids common to other Solanum species are conspicuously absent in the tomato). On the other hand, hybrids of tomato and diploid potato can be created in the lab by somatic fusion, and are partially fertile, providing evidence of the close relationship between these species.
Tomatoes that have been modified using genetic engineering have been developed, and although none are commercially available now, they have been in the past. The first commercially available genetically modified food was a variety of tomato named the Flavr Savr, which was engineered to have a longer shelf life. Scientists are continuing to develop tomatoes with new traits not found in natural crops, such as increased resistance to pests or environmental stresses. Other projects aim to enrich tomatoes with substances that may offer health benefits or provide better nutrition.
An international consortium of researchers from 10 countries, among them researchers from the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, began sequencing the tomato genome in 2004, and is creating a database of genomic sequences and information on the tomato and related plants. A prerelease version of the genome was made available in December 2009. The genomes of its mitochondria and chloroplasts are also being sequenced as part of the project. The complete genome for the cultivar Heinz 1706 was published on 31 May 2012 in Nature. Since many other fruits, like strawberries, apples, melons, and bananas share the same characteristics and genes, researchers stated the published genome could help to improve food quality, food security and reduce costs of all of these fruits.
The Tomato Genetic Resource Center, Germplasm Resources Information Network, AVRDC, and numerous seed banks around the world store seed representing genetic variations of value to modern agriculture. These seed stocks are available for legitimate breeding and research efforts. While individual breeding efforts can produce useful results, the bulk of tomato breeding work is at universities and major agriculture-related corporations. These efforts have resulted in significant regionally adapted breeding lines and hybrids, such as the Mountain series from North Carolina. Corporations including Heinz, Monsanto, BHNSeed, and Bejoseed have breeding programs that attempt to improve production, size, shape, color, flavor, disease tolerance, pest tolerance, nutritional value, and numerous other traits.
The tomato is native to western South America. Wild versions were small, like cherry tomatoes, and most likely yellow rather than red. The Spanish first introduced tomatoes to Europe, where they became used in Spanish and Italian food. The French and northern Europeans erroneously thought them to be poisonous because they are a member of the deadly nightshade family. This was exacerbated by the interaction of the tomato's acidic juice with pewter plates. The leaves and immature fruit contains tomatine, which in large quantities would be toxic. However, the ripe fruit contains no tomatine.
Aztecs and other peoples in Mesoamerica used the fruit in their cooking. The exact date of domestication is unknown; by 500 BC, it was already being cultivated in southern Mexico and probably other areas.:13 The Pueblo people are thought to have believed that those who witnessed the ingestion of tomato seeds were blessed with powers of divination. The large, lumpy variety of tomato, a mutation from a smoother, smaller fruit, originated in Mesoamerica, and may be the direct ancestor of some modern cultivated tomatoes.:15
Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés may have been the first to transfer the small yellow tomato to Europe after he captured the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan, now Mexico City, in 1521, although Christopher Columbus may have taken them back as early as 1493. The earliest discussion of the tomato in European literature appeared in a herbal written in 1544 by Pietro Andrea Mattioli, an Italian physician and botanist, who suggested that a new type of eggplant had been brought to Italy that was blood red or golden color when mature and could be divided into segments and eaten like an eggplant—that is, cooked and seasoned with salt, black pepper, and oil. It was not until ten years later that tomatoes were named in print by Mattioli as pomi d'oro, or "golden apples".:13
After the Spanish colonization of the Americas, the Spanish distributed the tomato throughout their colonies in the Caribbean. They also took it to the Philippines, from where it spread to southeast Asia and then the entire Asian continent. The Spanish also brought the tomato to Europe. It grew easily in Mediterranean climates, and cultivation began in the 1540s. It was probably eaten shortly after it was introduced, and was certainly being used as food by the early 17th century in Spain.
The recorded history of tomatoes in Italy dates back to at least 31 October 1548, when the house steward of Cosimo de' Medici, the grand duke of Tuscany, wrote to the Medici private secretary informing him that the basket of tomatoes sent from the grand duke's Florentine estate at Torre del Gallo "had arrived safely". Tomatoes were grown mainly as ornamentals early on after their arrival in Italy. For example, the Florentine aristocrat Giovanvettorio Soderini wrote how they "were to be sought only for their beauty", and were grown only in gardens or flower beds. The tomato's ability to mutate and create new and different varieties helped contribute to its success and spread throughout Italy. However, even in areas where the climate supported growing tomatoes, their habit of growing to the ground suggested low status. They were not adopted as a staple of the peasant population because they were not as filling as other fruits already available. Additionally, both toxic and inedible varieties discouraged many people from attempting to consume or prepare any other varieties. In certain areas of Italy, such as Florence, the fruit was used solely as a tabletop decoration, until it was incorporated into the local cuisine in the late 17th or early 18th century. The earliest discovered cookbook with tomato recipes was published in Naples in 1692, though the author had apparently obtained these recipes from Spanish sources.:17
Unique varieties were developed over the next several hundred years for uses such as dried tomatoes, sauce tomatoes, pizza tomatoes, and tomatoes for long-term storage. These varieties are usually known for their place of origin as much as by a variety name. For example, Pomodorino del Piennolo del Vesuvio is the "hanging tomato of Vesuvius" or the Pomodoro di Pachino and Pomodorino di Manduria. Five different varieties have traditionally been used to make these "hanging" tomatoes. They are Fiaschella, Lampadina, Patanara, Principe Borghese, and Re Umberto. Other tomatoes that originated in Italy include San Marzano, Borgo Cellano, Christopher Columbus, Costoluto Genovese, and Italian Pear. These tomatoes are characterized by a relatively intense flavor compared to varieties typically grown elsewhere.
Tomatoes were not grown in England until the 1590s.:17 One of the earliest cultivators was John Gerard, a barber-surgeon.:17 Gerard's Herbal, published in 1597, and largely plagiarized from continental sources,:17 is also one of the earliest discussions of the tomato in England. Gerard knew the tomato was eaten in Spain and Italy.:17 Nonetheless, he believed it was poisonous:17 (in fact, the plant and raw fruit do have low levels of tomatine, but are not generally dangerous; see below). Gerard's views were influential, and the tomato was considered unfit for eating (though not necessarily poisonous) for many years in Britain and its North American colonies.:17
However, by the mid-18th century, tomatoes were widely eaten in Britain, and before the end of that century, the Encyclopædia Britannica stated the tomato was "in daily use" in soups, broths, and as a garnish. They were not part of the average person's diet, and though by 1820 they were described as "to be seen in great abundance in all our vegetable markets" and to be "used by all our best cooks", reference was made to their cultivation in gardens still "for the singularity of their appearance", while their use in cooking was associated with exotic Italian or Jewish cuisine.
The tomato was introduced to cultivation in the Middle East by John Barker, British consul in Aleppo circa 1799 to 1825. Nineteenth century descriptions of its consumption are uniformly as an ingredient in a cooked dish. In 1881, it is described as only eaten in the region "within the last forty years". Today, the tomato is a critical and ubiquitous part of Middle Eastern cuisine, served fresh in salads (e.g., Arab salad, Israeli salad, Shirazi salad and Turkish salad), grilled with kebabs and other dishes, made into sauces, and so on.
The earliest reference to tomatoes being grown in British North America is from 1710, when herbalist William Salmon reported seeing them in what is today South Carolina.:25 They may have been introduced from the Caribbean. By the mid-18th century, they were cultivated on some Carolina plantations, and probably in other parts of the Southeast as well. Possibly, some people continued to think tomatoes were poisonous at this time; and in general, they were grown more as ornamental plants than as food. Thomas Jefferson, who ate tomatoes in Paris, sent some seeds back to America.:28
Early tomato breeders included Henry Tilden in Iowa and a Dr. Hand in Baltimore.
Alexander W. Livingston receives much credit for developing numerous varieties of tomato for both home and commercial gardeners. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's 1937 yearbook declared that "half of the major varieties were a result of the abilities of the Livingstons to evaluate and perpetuate superior material in the tomato." Livingston's first breed of tomato, the Paragon, was introduced in 1870. In 1875, he introduced the Acme, which was said to be involved in the parentage of most of the tomatoes introduced by him and his competitors for the next twenty-five years.
When Livingston began his attempts to develop the tomato as a commercial crop, his aim had been to grow tomatoes smooth in contour, uniform in size, and sweet in flavor. In 1870, Livingston introduced the Paragon, and tomato culture soon became a great enterprise in the county. He eventually developed over seventeen different varieties of the tomato plant. Today, the crop is grown in every state in the Union.
Because of the long growing season needed for this heat-loving crop, several states in the US Sun Belt became major tomato-producers, particularly Florida and California. In California, tomatoes are grown under irrigation for both the fresh fruit market and for canning and processing. The University of California, Davis (UC Davis) became a major center for research on the tomato. The C.M. Rick Tomato Genetics Resource Center at UC Davis is a gene bank of wild relatives, monogenic mutants and miscellaneous genetic stocks of tomato. The Center is named for the late Dr. Charles M. Rick, a pioneer in tomato genetics research. Research on processing tomatoes is also conducted by the California Tomato Research Institute in Escalon, California.
In California, growers have used a method of cultivation called dry-farming, especially with Early Girl tomatoes. This technique encourages the plant to send roots deep to find existing moisture in soil that retains moisture, such as clayey soil.
The poor taste and lack of sugar in modern garden and commercial tomato varieties resulted from breeding tomatoes to ripen uniformly red. This change occurred after discovery of a mutant "u" phenotype in the mid 20th century that ripened "u"niformly. This was widely cross-bred to produce red fruit without the typical green ring around the stem on uncross-bred varieties. Prior to general introduction of this trait, most tomatoes produced more sugar during ripening, and were sweeter and more flavorful.
Evidence has been found that 10−20% of the total carbon fixed in the fruit can be produced by photosynthesis in the developing fruit of the normal U phenotype. The u genetic mutation encodes a factor that produces defective chloroplasts with lower density in developing fruit, resulting in a lighter green colour of unripe fruit, and repression of sugars accumulation in the resulting ripe fruit by 10−15%. Perhaps more important than their role in photosynthesis, the fruit chloroplasts are remodelled during ripening into chlorophyll-free chromoplasts that synthesize and accumulate lycopene, β-carotene, and other metabolites that are sensory and nutritional assets of the ripe fruit. The potent chloroplasts in the dark-green shoulders of the U phenotype are beneficial here, but have the disadvantage of leaving green shoulders near the stems of the ripe fruit, and even cracked yellow shoulders, apparently because of oxidative stress due to overload of the photosynthetic chain in direct sunlight at high temperatures. Hence genetic design of a commercial variety that combines the advantages of types u and U requires fine tuning, but may be feasible.
The tomato is grown worldwide for its edible fruits, with thousands of cultivars. A fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 5-10-10 is often sold as tomato fertilizer or vegetable fertilizer, although manure and compost are also used.
In 2016, world production of tomatoes was 177 million tonnes, with China accounting for 32% of the total, followed by the European Union, India, the United States, and Turkey as the major producers (table). Global tomato exports were valued at 85 billion US dollars in 2016.
There are around 7,500 tomato varieties grown for various purposes having been selected with varying fruit types, and for optimum growth in differing growing conditions.
Tomato varieties can be divided into categories based on shape and size.
Tomatoes are also classified as determinate or indeterminate. Determinate, or bush, types bear a full crop all at once and top off at a specific height; they are often good choices for container growing. Determinate types are preferred by commercial growers who wish to harvest a whole field at one time, or home growers interested in canning. Indeterminate varieties develop into vines that never top off and continue producing until killed by frost. They are preferred by home growers and local-market farmers who want ripe fruit throughout the season. As an intermediate form, there are plants sometimes known as vigorous determinate or semi-determinate; these top off like determinates, but produce a second crop after the initial crop. The majority of heirloom tomatoes are indeterminate, although some determinate heirlooms exist.
Early tomatoes and cool-summer tomatoes bear fruit even where nights are cool, which usually discourages fruit set. There are varieties high in beta carotenes and vitamin A, hollow tomatoes and tomatoes that keep for months in storage. In 1973, Israeli scientists developed the world's first long shelf-life commercial tomato varieties.
Heirloom tomatoes are becoming increasingly popular, particularly among home gardeners and organic producers, since they tend to produce more interesting and flavorful crops at the cost of disease resistance and productivity. The definition of an heirloom tomato is vague, but unlike commercial hybrids, all are self-fertile varieties that have bred true for 40 years or more. Quite a few seed merchants and banks provide a large selection of heirloom seeds. Home cultivars are often bred for flavor to the exclusion of all other qualities, while commercial cultivars are bred for factors like consistent size and shape, disease and pest resistance, suitability for mechanized picking and shipping, and ability to ripen after picking. Hybrid plants remain common, since they tend to be heavier producers, and sometimes may combine unusual characteristics of heirloom tomatoes with the ruggedness of conventional commercial tomatoes.
Most modern tomato cultivars are smooth surfaced, but some older tomato cultivars and most modern beefsteaks show pronounced ribbing, a feature that may have been common to virtually all pre-Columbian cultivars. While virtually all commercial tomato varieties are red, some cultivars – especially heirlooms – produce fruit in blue, green, yellow, orange, pink, black, brown, ivory, white, and purple. Such fruits are not widely available in grocery stores, nor are their seedlings available in typical nurseries, but they can be bought as seed. Variations include multicolored fruit with stripes (Green Zebra), fuzzy skin on the fruit (Fuzzy Peach, Red Boar), multiple colors (Hillbilly, Burracker's Favorite, Lucky Cross), etc.
Various forms of mildew and blight are common tomato afflictions, which is why tomato cultivars are often marked with a combination of letters that refer to specific disease resistance. The most common letters are: LB – late blight, V – verticillium wilt, F – fusarium wilt strain I, FF – fusarium wilt strain I and II, N – nematodes, T – tobacco mosaic virus, and A – alternaria.
Some common tomato pests are stink bugs, cutworms, tomato hornworms and tobacco hornworms, aphids, cabbage loopers, whiteflies, tomato fruitworms, flea beetles, red spider mite, slugs, and Colorado potato beetles. The tomato russet mite, Aculops lycopersici, feeds on foliage and young fruit of tomato plants, causing shrivelling and necrosis of leaves, flowers, and fruit, possibly killing the plant.
Another particularly dreaded disease is curly top, carried by the beet leafhopper, which interrupts the lifecycle. As the name implies, it has the symptom of making the top leaves of the plant wrinkle up and grow abnormally.
After an insect attack tomato plants produce systemin, a plant peptide hormone . Systemin activates defensive mechanisms, such as the production of protease inhibitors to slow the growth of insects. The hormone was first identified in tomatoes, but similar proteins have been identified in other species since.
Although not a disease as such, irregular supplies of water can cause growing or ripening fruit to split. Besides cosmetic damage, the splits may allow decay to start, although growing fruits have some ability to heal after a split. In addition, a deformity called cat-facing can be caused by pests, temperature stress, or poor soil conditions. Affected fruit usually remains edible, but its appearance may be unsightly.
Tomatoes serve, or are served by, a large variety of companion plants.
The devastating tomato hornworm has a major predator in various parasitic wasps, whose larvae devour the hornworm, but whose adult form drinks nectar from tiny-flowered plants like umbellifers. Several species of umbellifer are therefore often grown with tomato plants, including parsley, queen anne's lace, and occasionally dill. These also attract predatory flies that attack various tomato pests.
Plants with strong scents, like alliums (onions, chives, garlic), mints (basil, oregano, spearmint) and French marigold, (Tagetes patula) are thought to mask the scent of the tomato plant, making it harder for pests to locate it, or to provide an alternative landing point, reducing the odds of the pests from attacking the correct plant. These plants may also subtly affect the flavor of tomato fruit.
Ground cover plants, including mints, stabilize moisture loss around tomato plants and other Solanaceae, which come from very humid climates, and therefore may prevent moisture-related problems like blossom end rot.
Tap-root plants like dandelions break up dense soil and bring nutrients from below a tomato plant's reach, possibly benefiting their companion.
Tomato plants can protect asparagus from asparagus beetles, because they contain solanine that kills this pest, while asparagus plants contain Asparagusic acid that repels nematodes known to attack tomato plants. Marigolds also repel nematodes.
In the wild, original state, tomatoes required cross-pollination; they were much more self-incompatible than domestic cultivars. As a floral device to reduce selfing, the pistil of wild tomatoes extends farther out of the flower than today's cultivars. The stamens were, and remain, entirely within the closed corolla.
As tomatoes were moved from their native areas, their traditional pollinators, (probably a species of halictid bee) did not move with them. The trait of self-fertility became an advantage, and domestic cultivars of tomato have been selected to maximize this trait.
This is not the same as self-pollination, despite the common claim that tomatoes do so. That tomatoes pollinate themselves poorly without outside aid is clearly shown in greenhouse situations, where pollination must be aided by artificial wind, vibration of the plants (one brand of vibrator is a wand called an "electric bee" that is used manually), or more often today, by cultured bumblebees. The anther of a tomato flower is shaped like a hollow tube, with the pollen produced within the structure, rather than on the surface, as in most species. The pollen moves through pores in the anther, but very little pollen is shed without some kind of externally-induced motion. The ideal vibratory frequencies to release pollen grains are provided by an insect, such as a bumblebee, or the original wild halictid pollinator, capable of engaging in a behavior known as buzz pollination, which honey bees cannot perform. In an outdoors setting, wind or animals usually provide sufficient motion to produce commercially viable crops.
Pollination and fruit formation depend on meiosis. Meiosis is central to the processes by which diploid microspore mother cells within the anther give rise to haploid pollen grains, and megaspore mother cells in ovules that are contained within the ovary give rise to haploid nuclei. Union of haploid nuclei from pollen and ovule (fertilization) can occur either by self- or cross-pollination. Fertilization leads to the formation of a diploid zygote that can then develop into an embryo within the emerging seed. Repeated fertilizations within the ovary are accompanied by maturation of the ovary to form the tomato fruit.
Homologs of the recA gene, including rad51, play a key role in homologous recombinational repair of DNA during meiosis. A rad51 homolog is present in the anther of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum), suggesting that recombinational repair occurs during meiosis in tomato.
Tomatoes are often grown in greenhouses in cooler climates, and cultivars such as the British 'Moneymaker' and a number of cultivars grown in Siberia are specifically bred for indoor growing. In more temperate climates, it is not uncommon to start seeds in greenhouses during the late winter for future transplant.
Greenhouse tomato production in large-acreage commercial greenhouses and owner-operator stand-alone or multiple-bay greenhouses is on the increase, providing fruit during those times of the year when field-grown fruit is not readily available. Smaller sized fruit (cherry and grape), or cluster tomatoes (fruit-on-the-vine) are the fruit of choice for the large commercial greenhouse operators while the beefsteak varieties are the choice of owner-operator growers.
Hydroponic technique is often used in hostile growing environments, as well as high-density plantings.
To facilitate transportation and storage, tomatoes are often picked unripe (green) and ripened in storage with ethylene. Unripe tomatoes are firm. As they ripen they soften until reaching the ripe state where they are red or orange in color and slightly soft to the touch. Ethylene is a hydrocarbon gas that many fruits produce, which acts as the molecular cue to begin the ripening process. Tomatoes ripened in this way tend to keep longer, but have poorer flavor and a mealier, starchier texture than tomatoes ripened on the plant. They may be recognized by their color, which is more pink or orange than the other ripe tomatoes' deep red, depending on variety.
A machine-harvestable variety of tomato (the "square tomato") was developed in the 1950s by University of California, Davis's Gordie C. Hanna, which, in combination with the development of a suitable harvester, revolutionized the tomato-growing industry. This type of tomato is grown commercially near plants that process and can tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste. They are harvested when ripe and are flavorful when picked. They are harvested 24 hours a day, seven days a week during a 12- to 14-week season, and immediately transported to packing plants, which operate on the same schedule. California is a center of this sort of commercial tomato production and produces about a third of the processed tomatoes produced in the world.
In 1994, Calgene introduced a genetically modified tomato called the FlavrSavr, which could be vine ripened without compromising shelf life. However, the product was not commercially successful, and was sold only until 1997. Slow-ripening cultivars of tomato have been developed by crossing a non-ripening cultivar with ordinary cultivars.
The world dedicated 4.8 million hectares in 2012 for tomato cultivation and the total production was about 161.8 million tonnes. The average world farm yield for tomato was 33.6 tonnes per hectare, in 2012.
Tomato farms in the Netherlands were the most productive in 2012, with a nationwide average of 476 tonnes per hectare, followed by Belgium (463 tonnes per hectare) and Iceland (429 tonnes per hectare).
As of 2008, the heaviest tomato harvested, weighed 3.51 kg (7 lb 12 oz), was of the cultivar "Delicious", and was grown by Gordon Graham of Edmond, Oklahoma in 1986. The largest tomato plant grown was of the cultivar "Sungold" and reached 19.8 m (65 ft) in length, grown by Nutriculture Ltd (UK) of Mawdesley, Lancashire, UK, in 2000.
A massive "tomato tree" growing inside the Walt Disney World Resort's experimental greenhouses in Lake Buena Vista, Florida may have been the largest single tomato plant in the world. The plant has been recognized as a Guinness World Record Holder, with a harvest of more than 32,000 tomatoes and a total weight of 522 kg (1,151 lb). It yielded thousands of tomatoes at one time from a single vine. Yong Huang, Epcot's manager of agricultural science, discovered the unique plant in Beijing, China. Huang brought its seeds to Epcot and created the specialized greenhouse for the fruit to grow. The vine grew golf ball-sized tomatoes, which were served at Walt Disney World restaurants. The tree developed a disease and was removed in April 2010 after about 13 months of life.
Although tomatoes originated in the Americas, they have become extensively used in Mediterranean cuisine. They are a key ingredient in pizza, and are commonly used in pasta sauces. They are also used in gazpacho (Spanish cuisine) and pa amb tomàquet (Catalan cuisine).
The tomato is now grown and eaten around the world. It is used in diverse ways, including raw in salads or in slices, stewed, incorporated into a wide variety of dishes, or processed into ketchup or tomato soup. Unripe green tomatoes can also be breaded and fried, used to make salsa, or pickled. Tomato juice is sold as a drink, and is used in cocktails such as the Bloody Mary.
Tomatoes keep best unwashed at room temperature and out of direct sunlight. It is not recommended to refrigerate them as this can harm the flavor. Tomatoes stored cold tend to lose their flavor permanently.
Tomatoes that are not yet ripe can be kept in a paper bag till ripening.
Tomatoes are easy to preserve whole, in pieces, as tomato sauce or paste by home canning. They are acidic enough to process in a water bath rather than a pressure cooker as most vegetables require. The fruit is also preserved by drying, often in the sun, and sold either in bags or in jars with oil.
The leaves, stem, and green unripe fruit of the tomato plant contain small amounts of the alkaloid tomatine, whose effect on humans has not been studied. They also contain small amounts of solanine, a toxic alkaloid found in potato leaves and other plants in the nightshade family. Because of this, the use of tomato leaves in herbal tea has been responsible for at least one death. However, solanine concentrations in foliage and green fruit are generally too small to be dangerous unless large amounts are consumed—for example, as greens.
Small amounts of tomato foliage are sometimes used for flavoring without ill effect, and the green fruit of unripe red tomato varieties is sometimes used for cooking, particularly as fried green tomatoes. There are also tomato varieties with fully ripe fruit that is still green. Compared to potatoes, the amount of solanine in unripe green or fully ripe tomatoes is low. However, even in the case of potatoes, while solanine poisoning resulting from dosages several times normal human consumption has been demonstrated, actual cases of poisoning from excessive consumption of potatoes are rare.
Tomato plants can be toxic to dogs if they eat large amounts of the fruit, or chew plant material.
Tomatoes were linked to seven Salmonella outbreaks between 1990 and 2005, and may have been the cause of a salmonellosis outbreak causing 172 illnesses in 18 US states in 2006. The 2008 United States salmonellosis outbreak caused the removal of tomatoes from stores and restaurants across the United States and parts of Canada, although other foods, including jalapeño and serrano peppers, may have been involved.
|Red tomatoes, raw|
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||74 kJ (18 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||1.2 g|
|Vitamin A equiv.|
|†Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults. |
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
A tomato is 95% water, contains 4% carbohydrates and less than 1% each of fat and protein (table). In a 100 gram amount, raw tomatoes supply 18 calories and are a moderate source of vitamin C (17% of the Daily Value), but otherwise are absent of significant nutrient content (table).
In the United States, supposed health benefits of consuming tomatoes, tomato products or lycopene to affect cancer cannot be mentioned on packaged food products without a qualified health claim statement. In a scientific review of potential claims for lycopene favorably affecting DNA, skin exposed to ultraviolet radiation, heart function and vision, the European Food Safety Authority concluded that the evidence for lycopene having any of these effects was inconclusive.
The Potato Tuber moth (Phthorimaea operculella) is an oligophagous insect that prefers to feed on plants of the family Solanaceae such as tomato plants. Female P. operculella use the leaves to lay their eggs and the hatched larvae will eat away at the mesophyll of the leaf.
In Ontario, Canada, member of provincial parliament Mike Colle introduced a private member's bill in March 2016 to name the tomato as the official vegetable of the province and to designate 15 July as Tomato Day, in order to acknowledge the tomato's importance in Ontario's agriculture. The bill did not pass in the legislature and no official designations were made.
Tomatoes have been designated the state vegetable of New Jersey. Arkansas took both sides by declaring the South Arkansas Vine Ripe Pink Tomato both the state fruit and the state vegetable in the same law, citing both its culinary and botanical classifications. In 2009, the state of Ohio passed a law making the tomato the state's official fruit. Tomato juice has been the official beverage of Ohio since 1965. A.W. Livingston, of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, played a large part in popularizing the tomato in the late 19th century; his efforts are commemorated in Reynoldsburg with an annual Tomato Festival.
The town of Buñol, Spain, annually celebrates La Tomatina, a festival centered on an enormous tomato fight. Tomatoes are a popular "nonlethal" throwing weapon in mass protests, and there was a common tradition of throwing rotten tomatoes at bad performers on a stage during the 19th century; today this is usually referenced as a metaphor. Embracing it for this protest connotation, the Dutch Socialist party adopted the tomato as their logo.
Several US states have adopted the tomato as a state fruit or vegetable (see above).
"Rotten Tomatoes" is an American review-aggregation website for film and television. The name "Rotten Tomatoes" derives from the practice of audiences throwing rotten tomatoes when disapproving of a poor stage performance. "Rotten Tomatoes" took the tomato metaphor further by rating films as Certified Fresh if they got a score of 75% or higher, Fresh for films with a score of 60% or higher that do not meet the requirements for the Certified Fresh seal, and Rotten for films with a score of 0–59% .
Molecular phylogenetic analyses have established that the formerly segregate genera Lycopersicon, Cyphomandra, Normania, and Triguera are nested within Solanum, and all species of these four genera have been transferred to Solanumline feed character in
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Amalgaviridae is a family of double-stranded RNA viruses that has one genus: Amalgavirus. Members of both the family and the genus are referred to as amalgaviruses. There are currently four recognized species of the family: Blueberry latent virus, Rhododendron virus A, Southern tomato virus, the type species of Amalgavirus, and Vicia cryptic virus M. The family and genus are called amalga, from amalgam, due to the viruses possessing characteristics of both partitiviruses and totiviruses, indicating a likely genetic relation to those two families. Members of this family infect plants and are transmitted vertically via seeds. Their genomes are monopartite, about 3.5 kilobases in length, and contain two partially overlapping open reading frames, encoding the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) and a putative capsid protein.BLT
A BLT is a type of sandwich, named for the initials of its primary ingredients, bacon, lettuce and tomato. It can be made with varying recipes according to personal preference. Simple variants include using different types of lettuce, toasting or not, or adding mayonnaise. More pronounced variants can include using turkey bacon or tofu in place of bacon, or removing the lettuce entirely.
The combination of ingredients on a sandwich dates back to the early 1900s, though it didn't achieve widespread popularity until after World War II, when the ingredients became more readily available year-round. Referencing the sandwich by its initials rather than naming the ingredients in full did not become common until the 1970s. The BLT has been ranked as the second most popular sandwich in the US and as the UK's favourite sandwich, and is frequently referenced or depicted in media and culture.Barbecue sauce
Barbecue sauce (also abbreviated as BBQ sauce) is used as a flavoring sauce, a marinade, basting, condiment, or topping for meat cooked in the barbecue cooking style, including pork or beef ribs and chicken. It is a ubiquitous condiment in the Southern United States and is used on many other foods as well.The ingredients vary widely even within individual countries, but most include some variation on vinegar, tomato paste, or mayonnaise (or a combination thereof) as a base, as well as liquid smoke, onion powder, spices such as mustard and black pepper, and sweeteners such as sugar or molasses.Bolognese sauce
Bolognese sauce (UK: , US: ; known in Italian as ragù alla bolognese, pronounced [raˈɡu alla boloɲˈɲeːze; -eːse], ragù bolognese, or simply ragù) is a meat-based sauce originating from Italy, In Italian cuisine, it is customarily used to dress tagliatelle al ragù and to prepare lasagne alla bolognese. In the absence of tagliatelle, it can also be used with other broad, flat pasta shapes, such as pappardelle or fettuccine. Genuine ragù alla bolognese is a slowly cooked sauce, and its preparation involves several techniques, including sweating, sautéing and braising. Ingredients include a characteristic soffritto of onion, celery and carrot, different types of minced or finely chopped beef, often alongside small amounts of fatty pork. White wine, milk, and a small amount of tomato concentrate or tomatoes are added, and the dish is then gently simmered at length to produce a thick sauce.
The earliest documented recipe of an Italian meat-based sauce (ragù) served with pasta comes from late 18th century Imola, near Bologna. A recipe for a meat sauce for pasta that is specifically described as being "bolognese" appeared in Pellegrino Artusi's cookbook of 1891. The ragù alla bolognese that is now traditionally associated with tagliatelle and lasagne is somewhat different from Artusi's recipe. Many traditional variations currently exist. In 1982 the Italian Academy of Cuisine registered a recipe for authentic ragù alla bolognese with the Bologna Chamber of Commerce (incorporating some fresh pancetta and a little milk). In Italy, ragù alla bolognese is often referred to simply as ragù.
Outside Italy, the phrase "Bolognese sauce" often refers to a tomato-based sauce to which minced beef (or pork) has been added; such sauces typically bear less resemblance to ragù alla bolognese being more similar in fact to the ragù alla napoletana from the tomato-rich south of the country. Whereas in Italy ragù is not used with spaghetti, so-called "spaghetti bolognese" has become a popular dish in many other parts of the world.Chutney
Chutney is a sauce or a dry base for a sauce, originating from the Indian subcontinent, used with the cuisines of the Indian subcontinent, that can include such forms as a spicy coconut dip, a tomato relish, a ground peanut garnish or a dahi (yogurt), cucumber, and mint dip.
An offshoot that took root in Anglo-Indian cuisine is usually a tart fruit such as sharp apples, rhubarb or damson pickle made milder by an equal weight of sugar (usually demerara or brown sugar to replace jaggery in some Indian sweet chutneys). Vinegar was added to the recipe for English-style chutney that traditionally aims to give a long shelf life so that autumn fruit can be preserved for use throughout the year (as are jams, jellies and pickles) or else to be sold as a commercial product. Indian pickles use mustard oil as a pickling agent, but Anglo-Indian style chutney uses malt or cider vinegar which produces a milder product that in western cuisine is often eaten with a hard cheese or with cold meats and fowl, typically in cold pub lunches.Nowadays, the making of some pickles and chutneys in India has been passed over to commercial production, whereas at one time it was done entirely in people's homes. The disadvantage of commercial chutneys and those produced in western style with vinegar and large amounts of sugar is that the main aim of sugar and vinegar as preservatives is to make the product safe for long-term consumption. Regular consumption of these products (as distinct from the original Indian array of fresh relishes) can add to total sugar consumption being increased to unhealthy levels.Flavr Savr
Flavr Savr (also known as CGN-89564-2; pronounced "flavor saver"), a genetically modified tomato, was the first commercially grown genetically engineered food to be granted a license for human consumption. It was produced by the Californian company Calgene, and submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1992. On May 18, 1994, the FDA completed its evaluation of the Flavr Savr tomato and the use of APH(3')II, concluding that the tomato "is as safe as tomatoes bred by conventional means" and "that the use of aminoglycoside 3'-phosphotransferase II is safe for use as a processing aid in the development of new varieties of tomato, rapeseed oil, and cotton intended for food use." It was first sold in 1994, and was only available for a few years before production ceased in 1997. Calgene made history, but mounting costs prevented the company from becoming profitable, and it was eventually acquired by Monsanto Company.Gelechiidae
The Gelechiidae are a family of moths commonly referred to as twirler moths or gelechiid moths. They are the namesake family of the huge and little-studied superfamily Gelechioidea, and the family's taxonomy has been subject to considerable dispute. These are generally very small moths with narrow, fringed wings. The larvae of most species feed internally on various parts of their host plants, sometimes causing galls. Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga) is a host plant common to many species of the family, particularly of the genus Chionodes, which as a result is more diverse in North America than usual for Gelechioidea.By the late 20th century, over 900 genera with altogether more than 4,500 species were placed here, with about 650 genera known from North America alone. While these figures are certainly outdated, due to the many revisions to superfamily Gelechioidea and new descriptions of twirler moths, they still serve to show the enormous biodiversity contained in this important family.
Being abundant, fecund plant-eaters, many species are agricultural pests, including:
Anarsia lineatella – peach twig borer
Aproaerema modicella – groundnut leafminer
Keiferia lycopersicella – tomato pinworm
Pectinophora gossypiella – pink bollworm
Phthorimaea operculella – potato tuber moth, tobacco splitworm
Sitotroga cerealella – angoumois grain moth
Tecia solanivora (Povolny, 1973) – Guatemalan potato moth, Central American potato tuber moth
Tuta absoluta – tomato leafminer, South American tomato mothThe voracious habits of their larvae make twirler moths suitable for biological control of invasive plants. The spotted knapweed seedhead moth (Metzneria paucipunctella), for example, is used to control spotted knapweed (Centaurea maculosa) in North America.Geminiviridae
Geminiviridae is a family of plant viruses. There are currently over 360 species in this family, divided among 9 genera. Diseases associated with this family include: bright yellow mosaic, yellow mosaic, yellow mottle, leaf curling, stunting, streaks, reduced yields. They have single-stranded circular DNA genomes encoding genes that diverge in both directions from a virion strand origin of replication (i.e. geminivirus genomes are ambisense). According to the Baltimore classification they are considered class II viruses. It is the largest known family of single stranded DNA viruses.
Mastrevirus and curtovirus transmission is via various leafhopper species (e.g. maize streak virus and other African streak viruses are transmitted by Cicadulina mbila), the only known topocuvirus species, Tomato pseudo-curly top virus, is transmitted by the treehopper Micrutalis malleifera, and begomoviruses are transmitted by the whitefly species, Bemisia tabaci.
These viruses are responsible for a significant amount of crop damage worldwide. Epidemics of geminivirus diseases have arisen due to a number of factors, including the recombination of different geminiviruses coinfecting a plant, which enables novel, possibly virulent viruses to be developed. Other contributing factors include the transport of infected plant material to new locations, expansion of agriculture into new growing areas, and the expansion and migration of vectors that can spread the virus from one plant to another.History of pizza
The history of pizza begins in antiquity, when various ancient cultures produced basic flatbreads with several toppings.
The precursor of pizza was probably the focaccia, a flat bread known to the Romans as panis focacius, to which toppings were then added. Modern pizza developed in Naples, when tomato was added to the focaccia in the late 18th century.The word pizza was first documented in 997 A.D. in Gaeta and successively in different parts of Central and Southern Italy. Pizza was mainly eaten in Italy and by emigrants from there. This changed after World War II, when Allied troops stationed in Italy came to enjoy pizza along with other Italian foods.Ketchup
Ketchup is a sauce used as a condiment. Originally, recipes used egg whites, mushrooms, oysters, mussels, or walnuts, among other ingredients, but now the unmodified term usually refers to tomato ketchup. Various other terms for the sauce include catsup, catchup (archaic), ketsup, red sauce, tomato sauce, or, specifically, mushroom ketchup or tomato ketchup.
Ketchup is a sweet and tangy sauce now typically made from tomatoes, sugar, and vinegar, with assorted seasonings and spices. The specific spices and flavors vary, but commonly include onions, allspice, coriander, cloves, cumin, garlic, and mustard; and sometimes include celery, cinnamon or ginger.The market leader in the United States (60% market share) and United Kingdom (82%) is Heinz. Hunt's has the second biggest share of the US market with less than 20%. In much of the UK, Australia and New Zealand ketchup is also known as "tomato sauce" (a term that means a fresher pasta sauce elsewhere in the world) or "red sauce" (especially in Wales).
Tomato ketchup is most often used as a condiment to dishes that are usually served hot and may be fried or greasy: french fries, hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken tenders, tater tots, hot sandwiches, meat pies, cooked eggs, and grilled or fried meat. Ketchup is sometimes used as the basis for, or as one ingredient in, other sauces and dressings, and the flavor may be replicated as an additive flavoring for snacks such as potato chips.La Tomatina
La Tomatina (Spanish pronunciation: [la tomaˈtina]) is a festival that is held in the Valencian town of Buñol, in the East of Spain 30 kilometres (19 mi) from the Mediterranean, in which participants throw tomatoes and get involved in a tomato fight purely for entertainment purposes. Since 1945 it has been held on the last Wednesday of August, during a week of festivities in Buñol.List of tomato cultivars
There are over 10,000 tomato cultivars. This is a partial list.List of tomato dishes
This is a list of tomato dishes. This list includes dishes in which the main ingredient or one of the essential ingredients is tomato. Dishes prepared with tomato sauces as a primary ingredient are not included in this list.Orthotospovirus
The Orthotospoviruses (or Tospoviruses) are a genus of negative RNA virus found within the family Tospoviridae of the order Bunyavirales. The genus takes its name from the discovery of tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) in Australia in 1919. It remained the only member of the family until the early 1990s when genetic characterisation of viruses discovered in plants became more common. There are now at least twenty viral species in the family with more being recorded and described on a relatively regular basis. Together, these viruses have been documented infecting over eight hundred different plant species from 82 different families.Phytophthora infestans
Phytophthora infestans is an oomycete or water mold, a microorganism that causes the serious potato and tomato disease known as late blight or potato blight. (Early blight, caused by Alternaria solani, is also often called "potato blight".) Late blight was a major culprit in the 1840s European, the 1845 Irish, and the 1846 Highland potato famines. The organism can also infect some other members of the Solanaceae. The pathogen is favored by moist, cool environments: sporulation is optimal at 12–18 °C in water-saturated or nearly saturated environments, and zoospore production is favored at temperatures below 15 °C. Lesion growth rates are typically optimal at a slightly warmer temperature range of 20 to 24 °C.Pico de gallo
In Mexican cuisine, pico de gallo (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈpiko ðe ˈɣaʎo], lit. rooster's beak), also called salsa fresca or salsa cruda, is made from chopped tomato, onion, cilantro, serrano peppers (jalapeños or habaneros are used as alternatives), salt, and lime juice. Other ingredients, such as shrimp, or avocado, are also sometimes added.
Pico de gallo can be used in much the same way as other Mexican liquid salsas, but since it contains less liquid, it can also be used as a main ingredient in dishes such as tacos and fajitas.
The tomato-based variety is widely known as salsa picada (minced/chopped sauce). In Mexico it is normally called salsa mexicana (Mexican sauce). Because the colours of the red tomato, white onion, green chili and cilantro are reminiscent of the colours of the Mexican flag, it is also sometimes called salsa bandera (flag sauce).
In many regions of Mexico the term refers to any of a variety of salads (including fruit salads), salsa, or fillings made with tomato, tomatillo, avocado, orange, jícama, cucumber, papaya, or mild chilis. The ingredients are tossed in lime juice and either hot sauce or chamoy, then sprinkled with a salty chili powder.Rotten Tomatoes
Rotten Tomatoes is an American review-aggregation website for film and television. The company was launched in August 1998 by three undergraduate students at the University of California, Berkeley: Senh Duong, Patrick Y. Lee, and Stephen Wang. The name "Rotten Tomatoes" derives from the practice of audiences throwing rotten tomatoes when disapproving of a poor stage performance.
Since January 2010, Rotten Tomatoes has been owned by Flixster, which was in turn acquired by Warner Bros. in 2011. In February 2016, Rotten Tomatoes and its parent site Flixster were sold to Comcast's Fandango. Warner Bros. retained a minority stake in the merged entities, including Fandango.Shaun White
Shaun Roger White (born September 3, 1986) is an American professional snowboarder, skateboarder and musician. He is a three-time Olympic gold medalist. He holds the record for the most X-Games gold medals and most Olympic gold medals by a snowboarder, and has won 10 ESPY Awards.Tomato sauce
Tomato sauce (also known as Neapolitan sauce, or salsa di pomodoro in Italian) can refer to a large number of different sauces made primarily from tomatoes, usually to be served as part of a dish, rather than as a condiment. Tomato sauces are common for meat and vegetables, but they are perhaps best known as bases for Mexican salsas or sauces for pasta dishes. Tomatoes have a rich flavor, high water content, soft flesh which breaks down easily, and the right composition to thicken into a sauce when they are cooked (without the need of thickeners such as roux). All of these qualities make them ideal for simple and appealing sauces.
In countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, the term tomato sauce is used to describe a condiment similar to ketchup. In some of these countries, both terms are used for the condiment.
The use of tomato sauce with pasta appears for the first time in 1790 in the Italian cookbook L'Apicio moderno, by Roman chef Francesco Leonardi.
|Pest and diseases|
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