Seed World

World Status | January 2014



An in-depth overview of the global seed industry. From a newly developed tomato variety in Argentina to new ag recruitment tactics in Germany.

Status Argentina

jan14_worldstatus_1Argentine researchers working with the National University of Rosario in Santa Fe province, Argentina, recently created a new hybrid tomato breed. The new hybrid tomatoes hold good weight, firmness, increased post-harvest life, and good flavour and colour, among other attributes.

By analyzing a myriad of data, researchers identified genetic profiles of various tomato strains that had the above-mentioned qualities. Subsequently, selected plants were then genetically crossed to create varieties that hold all of the desired features.

“We evaluated 2,570 fruits and over 180 plants,” says Guillermo Pratta, researcher and director of the specialization in bioinformatics department at the National University of Rosario.

Two of these new varieties are currently enrolled in the National Registry of Cultivars National Seed Institute under the names Gemma and Cherub.

To create these varieties, the researchers from the Department of Genetics made crosses between a tomato variety from Argentina and a wild tomato species collected in Peru, whose most dominant feature was improved post-harvest life.

“Utilizing the wild tomato species to prolong the post-harvest life of the fruit, rather than the techniques of genetic modification, is one of this research group’s original focuses [since it] began working in the mid-1990s. This approach also enables the ability to produce a greater variety of tomatoes for the local and international markets,” said Pratta.

—Agencia CyTA – Instituto Leloir (Science and Technology News / Buenos Aires – Argentina)

Status Germany

Germany’s first career portal specifically for the agricultural sector was launched this month. The website is a new platform and the latest offering from the Agricultural Information Centre Proplanta, a spin-off of the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart, Germany.

Besides the latest job opportunities from across the agricultural sector, the portal provides comprehensive information on subjects like agricultural studies to green jobs and internships. The site also features agricultural career advice and events and news from around the world.

“With the new career portal, we complement our established site with agricultural employment news and the accompanying online journal for more information about jobs and careers in the green zone,” says Jörg Mehrtens, CEO and founder of Proplanta. “This virtual campus shows today’s variety of agricultural programs and assists in the search for majors. This portal is ideal for those with questions, comments, seeking campus news as well as a tool to connect our facility to the agriculture community that is beyond our borders.”

Today the university’s portal has a recorded 1.8 million monthly visitors. It includes, among other things, daily agricultural news, agricultural weather forecasts for Germany, Austria and Switzerland, market and price information, an agricultural technology exchange and  virtual crop consultants.

“The agricultural job portal provides answers to those looking for what follows agricultural programs, and thus facilitates entry into professional life. Interested parties can also stay up-to-date via [an] RSS job feed and users can establish direct contact with employers by registering.”

—The Proplanta Agricultural Information Centre