In 2010, Abundant engaged Dr Nabil Ahmad to manage our breeding program, starting with cucumbers. Cucumbers are a particular specialty of Dr Ahmad, and he is responsible for creating a number of Australia’s leading cucumber varieties.
Abundant Seeds mainly breeds varieties of the “beit alpha” cucumber, better known in Australia as “Lebanese cucumbers”. They were introduced to Australia in the 1970’s with a wave of Middle East immigration and don’t require peeling as the skin is thin, soft and sweet, whilst the body is crisp and crunchy. Beit alpha cucumbers remain popular in the Middle East with growing interest in Europe and the USA. We are currently selling cucumber seeds and have recently announced tomato hydrids undergoing greenhouse testing.
Overall, the portfolio currently consists of 5 vegetables lines; cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplant, capsicum and zucchini. Within each vegetable line we have over 25 different commercial hybrids and between 600-1,000 inbred varieties. As such, Abundant owns around 5,000 plant lines and varieties in total. These are available for commercialization over the next 7-10 years.
Looking to the future, we are continuing to innovate in the cucumber space with many new products at various stages in the pipeline. In the tomato program, we continue to focus on the senses; placing taste, colour and shape at the forefront whilst not neglecting features relevant to production and logistics. We look to wild tomato species as a source of new resistances for rapidly evolving biotic and abiotic stresses. The development of eggplant, capsicum and zucchini is on track to give the company a globally significant suite of products.
Biotechnology will play a greater role in future variety development with a number of new (non-GM) technologies being incorporated in the coming year. These will enable us to speed and improve product development.
Read more about Dr Ahmad’s approach to the art and science of plant breeding.