The yield of greenhouse tomatoes in Japan has not increased since the 1980s and remains much less than 30 kg·mL-2 per year. To investigate the cause of this low yield, we compared six Japanese tomato cultivars that were commonly grown or released during the past 80 years to see whether fruit yield (fruit fresh weight per area) and dry matter (DM) content per fruit improved under current cultivation conditions. Fruit yield in 'Momotaro' (released in 1985) was lower than that in older cultivars. Total DM was determined mainly by light use efficiency and photosynthetic rate, and light use efficiency was correlated with maximum photosynthetic rate. The more modern cultivars did not show improved DM content per fruit. The DM content per fruit was strongly correlated with the soluble solids content in fruits except in 'Momotaro' and 'Momotaro colt', but soluble solids in fruits of the 'Momotaro'-type cultivars were higher than in other cultivars for a given DM content per fruit. Thus, tomato breeding in Japan appears to have focused on fruit soluble solids content per unit DM rather than fruit yield or DM content; as a result, only the former parameter has improved greatly.
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