Superpuffed locules in tomato fruits.

Young, P. A.

Puffing (empty locules) in tomato fruits usually is due to faulty pollination or fertilization without parthenocarpy. It was described in literature reviews in Texas Agr. Exp. Sta. Bul. 541 and Circ. 113. Some varieties are more susceptible than others to puffing. Adequate calcium nutrition gives tomatoes maximum resistance to it. In contrast, extreme superpuff abnormality is an inherited character (T.A.E.S. Bul. 698). Like bell peppers, each affected tomato fruit has a small central mass of seeds with air spaces 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide between the seeds and outer locule walls in 2 or more locules. The air spaces are usually larger in plum-shaped fruits than in oblate fruits.

Cvita tomato (P.I. 110946 listed in Ohio A.E.S. Res. Bul- 765; C. F. Andrus T1162) segregated into two dissimilar kinds of fruits: (1) red oblate lobed fruits with exserted carpels like those described in TGC 6:33:1956, and pink bell-shaped fruits that were hollow like bell peppers. A pink-bell segregate was labeled G1661 and used in 5 crosses with Urbana, Manasota and S1556 tomatoes that bear green-wrap fruits. No distinct differences appeared in their segregations. Most of the F1 fruits resembled their normal parents. However, many of the ripe fruits of G1695 and G1725-hybrids were superpuffed.

The 248 plants of the F2 generation of the 5 crosses segregated as follows: 192 plants (77%) had one or more superpuffed bell or plum-shaped fruits per plant; 31 plants (13%) had oblate lobed superpuffed fruits; 16 plants (6%) had mildly puffed fruits; and 9 plants (4%) showed only solid fruits. A plant with 5 to 15 fruits usually had only one or a few superpuffed fruits, especially on the lower two trusses. Thus, some of the above percentaes may not be exact due to the difficulty in classifying some plants.

The centers ripened first in the superpuffed fruits. Superpuffing was associated with very severe core rot (physiological) in 1955. The F2 segregation showed an average of 90% of the plants with superpuffed fruits indicating dominance of superpuffing. Probably superpuffing is determined by more than one gene. Extensive tests may be needed to identify these genes. Superpuff pink bell tomato is a distinct new kind.