Building the future by doing more together

BP4BP - Tamarillo breeding: better plants for better products
Coordinator - Jorge Canhoto
CESAM Responsible researcher - Glória Catarina Pinto
Programme - Projetos de Investigação Científica e Desenvolvimento Tecnológico - 2017
Execution dates - 2018-07-27 - 2021-08-01 (36 Months)
Funding Entity - FCT - Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
Funding for CESAM - 18750 €
Total Funding - 211112 €
Proponent Institution - Universidade de Coimbra
Participating Institutions
Universidade de Aveiro


The Agrifood sector has been facing a significant (r)evolution. Demands for “new” healthy fruits are a reality in global markets and the emergence of neglected crops a strong tendency. The main goal of this project is to produce new tamarillo genotypes and develop new products based on tamarillo fruits: better plants for better products.
Portugal has considerably increased fresh fruit production and export markets. The main production remains on the traditional pears/apples and citrus; however, there has been an increase in small berry production. Due to its climate, Portugal has unique conditions for growing a wide range of fruits. The well-known successes of kiwi and, recently, blueberry, confirm this potential. Besides, consumers are quite receptive to red exotic fruits, perceived as positively affecting well-being. One of them is tamarillo, which can reach the price of 10–15€/kg in Europe. Several Portuguese producers started to grow tamarillo due to the high value of the fruits and the possibility of reaching Northern Europe markets. Most tamarillo plants that are being used in Portuguese orchards were produced in the laboratory of CFE-UC, where several tamarillo genotypes have been established, along with the development of in vitro cloning techniques and tetraploid lines.
NUTS II Centro has the potential to generate cooperative dynamics and to create conditions for launching new partnerships between R&D and industrial/agricultural stakeholders, resulting in new services and products which will positively impact the economy. The proponents of this project include R&D institutions (CFE-UC, QFM, CESAM) supported by tamarillo producers (AVDC), the COTHN, a multinational company of the agrifood sector (Frulact), and a plant biotech company (KLON), all of them recognized as leading institutions in their fields.
The goals of this project will be achieved through a set of research lines, namely: 1) large-scale cloning of selected plants and evaluation of their genetic uniformity; 2) hybridization and phenotyping of the new genotypes; 3) establishment of mother-plant fields to be a source of propagating material; 4) comparison between fruits derived from the established genotypes and marketed fruits in terms of fruit quality, based on the parameters usually analysed and antioxidant properties, and development of new juices and yogurts; 5) physiological and biochemical analysis of the plants propagated in vitro. The main outcomes of this project will be the production of elite trees to be supplied to farmers, and the development of new tamarillo based products. This will reduce production costs by avoiding the import of materials not adapted to the country's climate/soil conditions and allowing the increase of stakeholders' profit margins. It should be noted that the project has important scientific goals as well, which will bring new insights into fruit tree breeding by bringing together traditional and biotechnological breeding approaches.


Members on this project

CESAM Funding: