Station 2 | Tomato

Tomato Solanum lycopersicum

Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) are the Germans’ favourite vegetable, with an annual consumption of more than 30 kilograms per person. In order to achieve a good yield, it must be able to withstand two pathogens in particular: leaf spot disease (Pseudomonas syringae) and leaf blight (Phytophthora infestans).

However, tomatoes can engage in a beneficial symbiosis with so-called arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (glomeromycetes). The fungus enters the inside of the plant cells to supply the tomato with phosphorus and other important nutrients and to improve water absorption. At the same time, the plant supplies photosynthesis products, such as sugar molecules and fats, to the fungus. To enhance the nutrient exchange, the fungus surface within the plant cell is enlarged and resembles small trees in shape, so-called arbuscles [lat. arbuscula = little tree].

Header: Leaf spot disease on tomato. © BotMuc/Grafik: Tanja Simon