Bull. Spec. CORESTA Congress, Lisbon, 2000, p. 61, AP11

The tobacco breeding program of Institut du Tabac (SEITA, ALTADIS) : methods, results and future prospects

Altadis - Institut du Tabac, Bergerac, France
Tobacco breeding at Tobacco Institute of Bergerac started with TMV resistance, then increased with the blue-mold epidemic of years 60, which necessitated creation and release of new, blue-mold resistant varieties. In order to diversify the French production, it soon became necessary to create flue-cured and Burley varieties, adapted to the French climatic conditions and resistant to the prevailing diseases in France. A comprehensive breeding approach was implemented, not only taking into consideration diseases resistances and early leaf maturity, but also trying to improve leaf quality (as assessed by expert panels) and chemical equilibrium. Joint collaboration with growers cooperatives through ARREAT, then ANITTA, supported a replicated field trial program, which led to releases of new cultivars. In year 1999, 78% of the French flue-cured acreage, and 47% of the Burley crop, were planted with F1 hybrids coming from this program. The main features of the breeding strategy underlying these results will be presented. Based on field trial data obtained at Bergerac over a 6 years period, relative contribution of each variety to different quantitative traits, including tar and nicotine from smoking tests, have been estimated. From these data, potential impact of new variety releases on leaf usability of the French production will be discussed.