Source: Arcadia Biosciences

Arcadia Biosciences Inc., an agricultural technology company focused on developing technologies and products that benefit the environment and human health, and Semillas Fito, a European seed company, announced a research and commercial development agreement for extended shelf-life tomatoes. Under the agreement, Semillas Fito has an exclusive license to utilize Arcadia technology and proprietary germplasm for the development and commercialization of extended shelf-life tomatoes.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Because tomatoes are a perishable fruit often produced in areas distant from consumer markets, increasing tomato shelf-life, overall quality, and taste is a constant challenge to the industry. The development of extended shelf-life tomatoes using tilling technology can enable breeders to select better-tasting tomato varieties for commercial sale. Because tilling technology is a tool to identify natural variation within plants, tomatoes developed under this agreement will be non-GMO.

"The development of tomatoes with improved shelf-life will benefit both consumers and producers," said Eric Rey, president and CEO of Arcadia. "For consumers, it will mean better flavor and less waste from spoilage after purchase, and for producers it will lead to the ability to provide a better quality product with less waste. Semillas Fito is an ideal partner for us because of their proven breeding capabilities, proprietary germplasm, and access to key world markets."

"Although long shelf life tomatoes are already available in the market, this is the very first time the approach to LSL does not spoil the flavor, which will allow us to create unique products. Working with Arcadia on this project is the easiest way to speed up the process and create synergies between classical breeding and new biotechnology tools," said Eduard Fito, Vegetables Seeds Unit director of Semillas Fito.

The companies expect that the first new varieties could be commercially available by 2011.