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Historically, consumers have purchased more green bell peppers than colored bell peppers (red, yellow and orange), simply because they’re cheaper. Colored bell peppers are more difficult and expensive for farmers to grow, as they take longer to mature and are often grown in greenhouses instead of open fields like green bell peppers. Recently, we started to see a shift in the bell pepper industry with the rising popularity of the stoplight pepper packages, which contain a combination of red, yellow, orange and green peppers, suggesting that retailers and consumers are looking to add color to their shelves and their plates.
To stay ahead of this trend, Seminis set out to develop a more refined understanding of the genetics in the color of peppers that would create the opportunity for us to use a simple two marker system to manipulate the fruit color. Could we develop an optimal pepper and then change its color through breeding? Our goal was to produce a red, yellow and orange pepper that would be essentially identical in disease and horticultural traits.
After years of hard work, our team’s technological advancements are making it possible to develop new pepper varieties that help meet the changing trends in the bell pepper market by incorporating these markers into their breeding programs. When combining our knowledge of pepper color with disease resistance traits, it allows our teams to explore new opportunities to grow colored bell peppers in markets where they are traditionally not grown. We’re able to incorporate the X10R™ technology from our green bell peppers into the colored peppers, which creates resistance to all 10 races of Bacterial leaf spot disease.
“With this integrated model of fruit color in peppers, we now have a competitive edge that will help make improved products faster, and better support our customers in learning how to grow them successfully,” said Marlin Edwards, Chief Technology Officer for Seminis. “This team did an excellent job of challenging the way we do things and then putting in the hard work to find a better way to make the perfect pepper.”
While it certainly takes more to make the perfect pepper than color genes alone, these markers allow our breeders to deliver improved varieties more efficiently than in the past. Our pepper breeding programs have become more streamlined and are using less resources and less space while providing our customers with the best red, yellow and orange peppers varieties. To learn more about our sweet pepper portfolio, check out our products.
X10R™ is a trademark of Seminis Vegetable Seeds, Inc. ©2016 Seminis Vegetable Seeds, Inc.