Botanical name: Lycopersicon esculentum Mill
Chromosome No.: 2n = 24
Origin: Peru or Mexico
- Tomato is the No. 1 processing vegetable in the world.
- Tomato Puree and Paste have great demand in the international market.
- Lycopene is responsible for the red colour in tomatoes and it is highest at 21-240 Production of the pigment drops rapidly above 270C.
- About 33% of the total area is covered by F1 hybrids, which is the highest among vegetables.
- Training and pruning are followed in the indeterminate type of tomato (Single stem system).
- In Punjab, only spring summer crop is taken due to the heavy incidence of leaf curl virus in Autumn
Area and production
Source: Horticulture Statistics Division, Department of Agriculture, Coopn & Farmers Welfare.
Economic importance and use
- Tomato is producing a very good source of income for small and marginal farmers and contributes nutrition to the consumers. Tomato is a rich source of minerals, vitamins, and organic acid. There are various types of flavouring compounds found in fruits, which enrich the taste.
- The total sugar content is 2.5 % in ripe fruit and the amount of ascorbic acid varies from 16 to 65 mg/100 g of fruit weight. 100 g of the edible portion of tomato contains 94.1 g of water, 1.0 g of protein, 0.3 g of fat, 4.0 g of carbohydrates, 0.6 g of fibre, vitamin A (1100 I.U), vitamin B (0.20 mg), vitamin C(23 mg), malic acid (150 mg), citric acid (390 mg), oxalic acid (3.5 mg), potassium (268 mg), and phosphorus (27 mg )
- Several processed items like paste, puree, syrup, juice, ketchup, drinks, etc are prepared on a large scale. Sometimes, it is called poor man’s orange. Tomato is a very good appetizer and its soup is said to be a good remedy for patients suffering from constipation. It is used for treating chronic dyspepsia, bronchitis, and asthma and is also used as a blood purifier. Three flesh colours in tomato namely red (lycopene pigment), yellow (carotenoid), and tangerine (prolycopene) were found.
Description of popular varieties and hybrids
A large number of tomato-determinate and indeterminate varieties have been evolved by various organizations in the country. According to the growth habit, tomato is characterized by two types of plant.
1. Determinate type:
Inflorescence occurs more frequently in almost every internode until terminal ones are formed and elongation ceases at this point, in other words, it may be defined as self-topping and the main stem terminates with a flower cluster.
2. Indeterminate type:
An inflorescence cluster occurs at every third internode and the main axis continues to grow indefinitely.
- Roma, Suiox, Best of All, Tip Top, Labonita, Marvel, Money Maker, Ageti
- Improved Meeruti, Sonali, Pant Bahar, Arka Vikas, Arka Saurabh
- Pusa Early Dwarf: Improved Meeruti X Red Cloud
- Pusa Ruby: Sioux X Improved Meeruti
- Pusa Gaurav: Glamour X Watch
- Marglobe: Marvel X Globe
Pusa Red Plum
Pusa Divya (Developed using Male Sterile line)
Varieties suitable for different purposes
Varieties for the fresh market: Pusa Early, Dwarf, Pusa Ruby, Pusa 120, Pant T-3, Arka Vikas, Arka Saurabh, CO-3, Punjab Kesari, Pant Bahar
Varieties for distant markets: Pusa Gaurav, Roma, Punjab Chhuhara, Pusa Uphar.
Varieties for processing: Pusa Gaurav, Rousa, Punjab Chhuhara, Pusa Uphar, Arka Saurabh.
Varieties resistant to abiotic stresses: Pusa Sheetal-low temperature; Pusa hybrid 1-High temperature; Pusa Sadabahar- high and low-temperature regime.
Private Sector Hybrid: Naveen, Avinash, Meenakshi, Manisha, Krishna
Varieties developed by Private organizations
MAHYCO Seeds: MTH 4, Sadabahar, Gulmohar.
Novartis: Avinash 2. Yields 75 t/ha;
Bejo Sheetal pvt. Ltd- Meenakshi, Talstoi.
(C) Mutant: S-12, Maruthan, PKM-1, Pusa Lal Meeruti
(D) Indeterminate type:
Best of All
- Pusa Sheetal: low-temperature region
- Pusa H -1: For the high-temperature region
- Pusa Sadabahar: Suitable for low and high temperature
- Hissar Arun: Extreme Early Variety
- Flavr-savr: also known as CGN-89564-2 developed using biotechnology
- Arka Vikas: Suitable for drought conditions
- Leaf curl-resistant varieties: Hissar Gourav, Hissar Anmol
- Pusa Rohini: Recently released a variety
- Sel- 120: Ist root-knot resistant variety
Climate and soil
Tomato is a warm-season crop. It is neither tolerant to frost nor to water-logged conditions. The optimum range of temperature is 20-240C, mean temperatures below 160C and above 270C are not desirable. Lycopene content is highest at 21-240C while the production of this pigment drops off rapidly above 270C. Tomato can be grown on a variety of soils but better yield is obtained in well-drained soil, fairly fertile, rich in organic matter with fair water holding capacity. For early crops, sandy loam soil is the best, however, for higher yield heavy soils rich in organic matter are preferred. The best soil pH is 6-7.
- Seed sowing in the plains is done thrice during the year.
1) For rainy-autumn crops: The seeds are sown in the month of June and July.
2) For autumn-winter crop: Seeds are sown in the month of Sep-Oct.
3) For spring-summer crop: Seeds are sown in the month of Jan-Feb.
- In hills, the seeds sowing depend upon the elevation of the place. On lower hills, seeds are sown in Feb-March while on the higher hills in the months of March and April.
The seed rate depends upon the germination percentage of the seed. Normally 300-400 g and 100-150 g seeds for open-pollinated varieties and hybrids respectively are required for planting one hectare of land.
- Approximately 200m2 area will be sufficient for raising the seedlings to plant one hectare. Generally, nursery beds are prepared in the size of 7.5 m long, 1-1.2 m wide, and 10-15 cm height. Well, decomposed farmyard manure is properly mixed into the top soil of the bed at the rate of 3 kg/ m2. A fertilizer mixture of 0.5 kg NPK of 15:15:15 per bed is mixed in the soil at least 10 days before sowing the seeds.
- For raising healthy seedlings, seeds should be treated before sowing with captan or thiram @ 2g/kg of seed is essential. The seeds are sown in a bed either broadcasted or in a row, at a distance of 7.5 cm between the rows. After sowing, the beds are covered with a thin layer of dry grass or compost, thereafter the beds are irrigated with a rose can. Light watering is required daily in the evening. Every week, if required, a fungicide such as Mancozeb or Difolation 0.25% should be sprayed to reduce the post-emergence damping off. The seedlings will be ready for transplanting after 4 to 6 weeks of seed sowing.
- Now a day’s various kinds of plastic seedling trays (Pro-trays) are used for raising seedlings. These trays provide a congenial environment for the growth and development of seedlings.
Advantages of raising seedlings in pro-trays:
- Uniform, vigorous, and healthy planting materials can be raised for better growth, development, and yield.
- The economy of seed rate cuts down the cost of cultivation, particularly for hybrids.
- Favourable growing conditions can be provided through convenient protection against biotic and abiotic stresses.
- Efficient time management for preparation of the main field.
Preparation of field
The field is first ploughed with soil turning plough followed by 4-5 ploughings with a country plough or harrow. Leveling should be done after ploughing and bring the soil into fine tilth and also provide better drainage facilities. At the time of soil preparation, raising the planting bed above ground level facilitates drainage during the rainy season.
- Seedlings should be hardened before transplanting by withholding watering for 4-5 days so as to reduce the available moisture to 20 percent Hardening can also be achieved by adding 4000 ppm NaCl to the irrigation water or by a spray of 200 ppm cycocel+ZnSO4 (0.25%) + 25 mm proline at time of transplanting. The tomato seedlings are transplanted on flatbeds or on the side of ridges. In the initial stage, seedlings are transplanted at the side of the ridge, and later earthing up is done to keep the plant in the middle of the ridge.
- In tomatoes, plant spacing is decided on the basis of growth habits of the variety and purpose such as fresh marketing or processing. The closer the spacing, the higher the yield but this reduces fruit quality. There is especially a reduction in the size and more incidence of insect pests and diseases. Different spacings are followed such as 60cmx45cm, 75cmx60cm, and 75cmx75cm on flat and raised beds. In some areas, 100cmx60cm spacing is also followed. The plant population of 35,000/ ha is considered to be optimum for producing a fruit yield of 40 tonnes/ha.
- The quantity of nutrients applied in the field depends upon several factors such as cultivar, soil and growing condition, irrigation, and season. A crop grown in spring and summer will require more nitrogen as compared to a crop in the winter season. Early maturing varieties will require less nitrogen as compared to long-duration ones. An adequate supply of nitrogen increases, fruit size, fruit quality, keeping quality, colour, and taste. Acidity is also increased by excess nitrogen. A high level of phosphorous throughout the root zone area is essential for rapid root development and for better utilization of water and other nutrients. An adequate amount of potassium is required for growth, yield, and quality. Removal of primary nutrients from the soil is 0.33 kg N, 0.11 kg P, and 0.44 kg K per 100 kg yield.
Recommended doses of fertilizers for varieties are given below
- Well-rotten 38 tons of FYM and 250 kg of each NPK per hectare is the recommended dose for hybrids. Half the dose of nitrogen and a full dose of phosphorus and potassium should be applied as basal while half the dose of nitrogen may be applied as a top dressing after 25-30 days of transplanting. The application of Zn, Cu, and B significantly increased the number of fruits per plant, yield, and quality. Application of 20-30kg of Borax and 0.5% Zn is beneficial for yield and good quality of fruit.
Tomato plants require adequate moisture throughout their growth period. First irrigation is required soon after transplanting. Too much of water at the time of transplanting and before fruit set has been found detrimental causing blossoms off. Irrigate the crops at an interval of 3-4 days during summer and 10-15 days during winter to maintain the soil moderately wet. During winter, the plants are not irrigated at the time of ripening of fruit. A long spell of drought followed by sudden heavy irrigation may cause the cracking of fruits. Furrow irrigation is most widely used to irrigate tomato crops in India. Drip irrigation of tomato crops increases the yield by 50 percent and saved water by 30 percent as compared to the furrow method. Nowadays sprinkler irrigation is also being popularized which is found to be more economical. Irrigation following a period of moisture stress during fruit development leads to blossom end rot. Development of moisture stress in foliage results in different physiological consequences. Viz. (1) Decrease in stomata opening (2) Reduction in photosynthesis and transpiration. (3) Dehydration of protoplasm (4) Reduction of cell division and cell enlargement. (6) Decrease in total dry matter production and growth.
The normal method of weed control is to give two hand hoeing in the first and third fortnight after transplanting and an earthing-up operation during the seasonal fortnight. The application of pre-emergence herbicides like metribuzin at 0.35kg/ha, fluchloraline at 1.25kg/ha controls the weed population and increases the yield of tomatoes. Recently the use of pendimethalin @1.0kg/ha as pre-emergence application three days after transplanting was found very effective in suppressing the weeds.
In the case of indeterminate varieties, the yield and quality of fruit are improved by staking the plants with wooden sticks/polyethylene threads. Staking not only increases the yield and improves its quality but also reduces infection by fungal diseases.
Use of growth regulators and chemicals
The use of plant growth regulators in tomatoes has been found beneficial for earliness, yield, quality, cold and high temperature, and fruit setting and to develop resistance to TLCV (Tomato Leaf Curl Virus). Growth regulators activate the root growth and increase fruit set and yield. They also affect the physiological process hasten maturity and better quality of fruits.
Various growth regulator substances recommended for various purposes are summarized in the table
2, Chloroethyl phosponic acid
200-500 whole plant spray
Flowering induction, better rooting and setting of plants
2, Chloroethyl trimethyl ammonium chloride
Flower buds, stimulate pigment formation and increase fruit set
2,4 Dichlorophenoxy acetic acid
2-5 seed treat whole plant spray
Increase fruit set, earliness, and parthenocarpy
3 Indole butyric acid
Increase fruit set
3 Indole acetic acid
Increase fruit size and yield
Naphthalene acetic acid
Higher fruit set, yield
Parachlorophenoxy acetic acid
50 foliar spray
Higher fruit set under adverse climatic conditions
6-4Hydroxy methyl 8 methyl gibberellin
50-100 foliar spray
Elongate shoot growth and increase fruit yield
Mulches are used to increase or reduce the temperatures suppress weed growth and conserve soil moisture. Organic mulches like straw can reduce the soil temperature during the summer season however, plastics are used to increase the soil temperature during the winter season for maintaining the optimum temperature which is required for good growth, flowering, fruiting, and quality of tomato.
Pruning and training is followed in indeterminate tomato varieties. Pruning is the removal of unwanted growth of plants and improves the size, shape, and other qualities of fruits. Pruning breaks the apical dominance, eliminates the crown set, and enhances plant vigour. Apart from pruning in indeterminate tomatoes, early and total yield and quality are increased to a greater extent by training. The plants are trained with wires, strings, or stacks.
Harvesting and yield
In indeterminate cultivars, fruit is harvested in 70-100 days after planting. In determinate cultivar, fruits are harvested at 70 days depending upon the environmental condition. According to the use of fruits they are harvested in the following stages.
About a fortnight before turning (Development of a trace of redness at the stylar end of the fruit), the fruits will develop the normal colour of the vine though they are still green yet they may be fully developed. These fruits are picked and sent to distant markets.
At this stage, the pink colour on the fruits varies from the trace at the bottom end to a considerable extent covering the surface. Though at this stage most of the fruits are red, they are not fully ripe. They are picked for local markets.
At this stage the surface of most of the fruits is red and softening of the fruits begins. They may be picked for home or table use.
Full ripe stage:
At this stage, the fruits have maximum colour development and may feel soft to the touch. They are ordinarily used within 24 hours of picking and are consumed or used for canning and pickling.
Fruits are normally picked at an interval of 4-5 days in summer whereas for winter crop picking should be at weekly intervals. The yield varies greatly according to varieties or seasons. On average yield of open-pollinated varieties ranges from 20-25 t/ha. Hybrid varieties may yield up to 50t/ha or more under normal conditions.
Maturity standards and post-harvest management
Optimum maturity depends upon the marketing and other processing purpose. The maturity stage of tomato fruit is classified by USDA as mature green, breaker, turning, pink, light red, and red. Red ripe tomatoes are preferred for local markets, for processing, and fruits the fully matured green, turning red, and pink are preferred for long-distance market and storage. The Bureau of Indian Standards has specified four grades, viz. super A, super, fancy, and commercial.
Storage and marketing
Fruits at the mature green stage could be stored successfully at 12-130C in PE bags of 100 gauge thickness for 4-5 weeks. Cool chamber storage extended the shelf life of tomatoes during the summer season. Usually, bamboo baskets and wooden boxes of various sizes and shapes are used for packing tomatoes. Wooden boxes are generally used for packing for long-distance markets. The use of PE bags for pre-packing of tomatoes could reduce the physiological loss in weight and TS shelf life. Tomatoes can be stored in low temperature and evaporative cool storage. In India, tomatoes are not commercially stored in cold storage. Pre-cooling of tomato after harvest and prior to storage and transportation are reported to prolong their storage life.
1. Tomato Fruit Worm (Heliothis armigera):- This is a serious pest of tomato. After hatching caterpillar feed over leaves and other vegetative parts. Then reach to fruit and hole them. This pest is active from October to March.
- Collect the attacked fruits and destroy them.
- Spray Sevin every 5 to 7-day interval
- Biological control by applications of Bacillus thuringiensis
2. Jassid (Amrasca biguttula):– Jassid sucks the sap from the leaves and other tender parts of the plant.
- Spray with Parathion 0.02% is effective for controlling the insect.
3. Tobacco caterpillar (Spodopterra littoralis): Caterpillars feed on tender leaves, shoots, and fruits at night.
- Spraying 1ml. Nuvan 100 mixed in 2 liter of water and Endosulfan 0.05% is effective.
1. Damping off (Pythium Or Rhizoctonia spp. Or Phytophthora spp.): Generally seeding in the nursery bed is infected they topple over at ground level.
- Sterilization of nursery bed soil by formeline or other copper fungicides.
- Seed should be treated with Ceresan or Agrosan before sowing.
2. Fusarium Wilt (Fusarium oxysporum): The lower leaf of the plant become yellow and subsequently the affected plant show wilting and finally die.
- Follow crop rotation
- Grow resistant varieties
3. Early Blight (Alternaria solani): affected plant shows brown spots on leaves and immature fruits. In severe cases, fruit drops, and the whole plant dries up.
- Seed Treated with Ceresan or copper fungicides before sowing.
- Spray with Bordeaux Mixture.
4. Late Blight (Phytophthora infestans): Dark water-soaked patches appear on leaves and stem. Fruits are also affected. Rains during February- March increase infection of the disease and destroy crops.
- Spray Diathane Z-78
- Or use copper fungicide.
5. Bacterial Wilt (Pseudomonas solanacearum): lower leaves drops and the plant start wilting. The vascular system becomes blackish brown.
- Resistant variety should be used.
- Seeds treated with hot water 500c for 25 minutes
6. Leaf Curl: This disease is transmitted by white flies (Bemesia tabaci). The leaves of the plant start curling and are small in size. Plant growth is stopped and plants remain unfruitful.
- Spray insecticides like Parathion, Thimet, or Rogor at an early stage to prevent vectors.
1. Blossom end rot
Brown water-soaked discoloration appears at the blossom end of the fruit where the senescent petals are attached while the fruit is still green. The spots enlarge and darken rapidly and the affected portion of the fruit becomes sunken, leathery, and dark coloured. This disorder may occur due to
i) Sudden change in the rate of transpiration especially in moisture stress condition
ii) Continuously high evapotranspiration regime and a large leaf area
iii) Increasing level of nitrogen content in the fruits
1) This disorder is decreased by increasing the frequency of irrigation
2) Judicial fertilizer application. An increase in the level of phosphate fertilization application declines the incidence of this disorder.
3) Liming decreases the incidence
4) Single foliar spray of 0.5% calcium chloride (CaCl2) at the time of fruit development.
2. Fruit cracking
Two types of fruit cracking are seen. Radial cracking, where the surface of the mostly fully ripe fruits cracks radially from the stem end of the fruit, and concentric cracking, where the surface of mostly mature green fruits cracks concentrically around the shoulder of the fruit. Radial cracking is more common and causes greater loss than concentric cracking. Cracking may occur due to
i) Irrigation or rainfall after a long dry spell
ii) Exposure of fruits to the sun due to pruning and staking
iii) Boron deficiency
iv) Genetic factor which is reported to be inherited polygenically
1) Irrigation at regular intervals
2) Pruning and staking during the summer season should be avoided
3) Picking of fruits before the fully ripe stage which reduces radial cracking
4) Spraying seedlings before transplanting with 0.3-0.4% borax solution and repeating the sprays at the time of fruiting, 15 days after the second spray, and at the fruit ripening stage
5) Growing resistant varieties like Sioux, Roma, Punjab Chuhara, pusa ruby, Arka saurabh, Pant T1, etc.
The exposed portion of either green or nearly ripe fruits gets blistered and water-soaked due to the extreme heat of scorching sunshine. Rapid desiccation in the blistered portion turns the sunken areas white or grey in green fruits and yellow in pink or red fruits. Sun scalding may cause inhibition of fruit softening, production of tough tissues, and differential fruit ripening. This problem is common in plants that have lost considerable foliage. For this reason, training and pruning in tomatoes aggravate this disorder because foliage cover over the fruit is reduced in these cultural practices. Cultivars with heavy foliage cover are the least affected by this disorder.
1) Protection of plants from defoliation by diseases and insect pests
2) Training and pruning in summer months should be avoided
The outer wall of the grown-up fruits (two-thirds normal size) continues to develop normally but the growth of the remaining internal tissues (Placenta, mesocarp) is retarded resulting in partially filled fruit that is light in weight and lacks firmness. The cross section of the affected fruit shows emptiness or pockets. The differential tissue growth leading to this disorder occurs due to
i) Nonfertilization of ovules
ii) Embryo abortion after normal fertilization
iii) Necrosis of vascular and placental tissue after normal development of the fruit
iv) High temperature and high soil moisture are the primary factors responsible for this disorder. The application of boron reduces puffiness and improves fruit shape.
1) Over-irrigation should be avoided
2) Less nitrogen should be applied
3) Boron should be applied by spraying 0.3-0.4% borax solution
5. Cat face
Distortion of the blossom end of the fruit gives rise to various ridges, furrows, and indentations in a localized area of the fruit. Catface is named due to these ridges and indentations. Abnormal growing conditions during the formation of the blossoms appear to cause death of the cells of the blossom end of the ovary which turn dark to form a leathery blotch at the end of the fruit. Unlike blossom end rot, the patch does not progress and thus gives rise to localized affected areas.
Temperature particularly a night temperature has a profound effect on fruit set in tomato. High day temperatures (above 320C) and high night temperatures (above 200C) are not favorable to fruit set. Low temperature also causes unfruitfulness if it is below 130C. Both high and low temperature adversely affects fruit set mainly by reducing pollen viability and pollen germination on stigma. For this reason, low fruit set is a problem during summer cultivation in eastern India, especially in West Bengal where the temperature remains above the critical limit, and during winter cultivation in northern India where the temperature falls far below the critical level in winter.
1) Growing high-temperature tolerant varieties like HS-102, Punjab Kesar, Punjab Chuhara, Hot set, etc.
2) Growing low-temperature tolerant varieties like Pusa Sheetal, Cold set, Ostenkinskiz, etc.
3) Application of growth substances like Parachlorophenoxy acetic acid (PCPA) 50 ppm at full bloom stage or 2,4 D, 1-2 ppm prior to anthesis.
7. Low-temperature injury
Tomato is sensitive to frost. As the maturing fruits are exposed to near-freezing temperature accumulation of the sugar in the fruit juice lowers the freezing point slightly. As a result, the fruits become soft, water-soaked, and dull-coloured. Low-temperature injured plants become darkened, desiccated and wither.
8. Delayed ripening and colour development
The rate of ripening and colour development is affected by temperature and it slows down with the approach of 25-260C and the development of red colour is suppressed above 300C. Similarly, at temperatures below 100C, ripening and colour development get hindered. Hence, delayed ripening and colour development is a major problems during both high and low-temperature conditions at the time of fruit ripening.
1) In spring summer and early autumn-winter growing conditions the plants should be sprayed with 250 ppm ethrel at the turning stage of the fruits which ripens and gives an early yield.
2) In winter, when the temperature is not favourable for ripening and colour development, the matured green fruits may be harvested and dipped in 500 ppm ethrel solution for 3-4 hours. After treatment, the fruits are heaped under a straw covering which hastens to ripen.
9. Gold fleck
In the fruit surface around the calyx and fruit shoulder, tiny yellow spots often appear which are called gold flecks. These gold flecks appear due to the deposition of calcium oxalate. With high incidence, fruits become non-attractive and their shelf life also gets reduced. The incidence of this disorder is increased due to
i) Higher supply of phosphatic fertilizers
ii) Higher supply of calcium fertilizers
iii) Increased magnesium concentration in the fruits
iv) Summer shading lowers the incidence of this disorder
10. Silvering and Pithy stem
This disorder affects stems, leaves, and flowers. In the stem silvering, grey-green stripes of varying numbers and widths appear. Discrete grey-green patches of varying sizes also appear on the leaves. This disorder may be caused due to exposure of plants to low temperatures (<210C) for some time.
Large air spaces are formed in the pith accompanied by the increase in abscisic acid levels in the leaves. Water uptake is prevented due to this disorder.
The following types of colour variations due to ripening disorders are seen in tomatoes
a) Greenback: It is the hard green or yellow area surrounding the calyx when the rest of the fruit is ripe. It can be eliminated by controlling the rise of the day temperature, application of shading, and use of resistant varieties.
b) Blotch or blotchy ripening: Yellow, green, or waxy areas occur at random over the surface of ripe fruits. This can be controlled by controlling the rise of temperature above 750 F and high levels of potash also eliminate this trouble.
c) Bronzed fruit or bronzing: It occurs as a shock reaction to infection with TMV (Tobacco mosaic virus), but only fruit developing at the time of infection is affected. Greater the loss of quality. This can be eliminated by breeding varieties resistant to TMV.