Title: New table grapes varieties obtained in Spanish breeding program ITUM-IMIDA for the world

Manuel Tornel Martínez

Instituto Murciano de Investigación y Desarrollo Agrario y Alimentario, IMIDA & ITUM, Spain


Agronomist engineer and phD in agricultural research, I lead the table grapes team of IMIDA, public institute of agrarian research. We developed a genetic breeding program to obtain new seedless table grapes varieties with the use of biotechnological techniques such as in vitro culture and molecular markers for obtaining hybrids; in the field we use hormonal growth regulators (PGR). Breeder of 17 new varieties of which around 1.000 ha are grown in Spain; the first commercial farms are being planted in Chile, Peru and Australia; and in coming years in South Africa and Brazil; 2 of the varieties have powdery mildew resistance genes, we are now focused on biological agriculture. Speaker at international congresses in Mexico, Chile, Italy, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Peru and Greece; and poster in Australia, Hong Kong and France.


Murcia is the Spanish region that produces and exports the largest amount of table grapes with some European countries consuming a large proportion of the production. 30 years ago the vine growers of our region cultivated local varieties with seeds, then the varietal panorama was transformed with the foreign seedless varieties and since 2013 they are cultivating grapes obtained in our own IMIDA-ITUM breeding program. At present, the partner companies have seventeen new varieties at their disposal that stand out by their crisp texture, of which nine are white, six are red and two are black varieties, and they already cultivate an area that exceeds 900 hectares, equivalent to more than 15% of the regional land devoted to the cultivation of table grapes.

A decade ago, we started a new line of work to obtain disease-tolerant varieties, the result of which is "Itumfifteen" and “Itumseventeen”, our registered varieties with genes for tolerance to powdery mildew. Growing them, producers will have less harvest losses and will also save in phytosanitary treatments, consumers will get grapes with less residues, and there will be a considerably smaller environmental impact, all of which aims at achieving a more sustainable type of agriculture.

The development of the new varieties IMIDA-ITUM was initially produced to meet the needs of local farmers, but due to the interest shown by producers from the rest of the world, plant material has been sent to Chile, Peru, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa and Australia.

We need to fine-tune the protocols for introducing plant material from field to in vitro culture of each variety, to make shipments to these countries, in line with the optimization of the in vitro rooting. The pre-selection assisted with molecular markers speeds up the first phase of the breeding program. The cultural techniques in seedless table grapes and management of PGR are tested and developed for each variety.