University of Florida scientists hope three new breeding lines approved for release will eventually improve the virus resistance and quality of future tomato varieties.

The UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Cultivar Release Committee, in partnership with the Florida Foundation Seed Producers Inc., approved Fla. 8638B, Fla. 8624 and Fla. 8923 on Oct. 22.

Fla. 8923 shows promise for resistance to tomato yellow leaf curl virus while 8624 and 8638B provide resistance to yellow leaf curl virus and tomato mottle virus, according to Professor Jay Scott and Assistant Professor Sam Hutton, tomato breeders at the UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Balm.

Committee members agreed to release the breeding lines hoping seed companies can use them to develop improved cultivars for Florida and globally. The resistance genes these improved lines provide originated from a wild tomato species that Scott transferred into tomatoes nearly 25 years ago.

The committee also agreed to release two caladium cultivars: UF 432 and UF 4015.

Caladiums are potted plants valued for their colorful and variable-shaped leaves, according to data from associate professor Zhanao Deng, who also conducts research at the Gulf Coast REC and is one of the cultivars’ breeders.

Caladium UF 432 performs very well in containers and gardens and shows excellent sun tolerance. UF 4015 produces many bright pink leaves well-suited for containers and shady landscape sites, UF/IFAS scientists said.

Also approved was a new oat cultivar, FL0720, a full-season winter cultivar for use as a forage, grain, cover and wildlife food crop. In addition to its multiple uses, FL0720 shows excellent resistance to crown rust, a major problem for oats in the South, said Ali Babar, UF/IFAS assistant professor in agronomy and one of the cultivar’s breeders.

Florida Foundation Seed Producers Inc. will be seeking non-exclusive licensees for the tomato breeding lines and caladium cultivars. An exclusive licensee will be sought for the new oat cultivar through FFSP’s invitation.