Participatory development of quality tomatoes for sustainable regional production

Acronym: PETRAq+n

The development of tomato varieties that are optimally suited for sustainable, regional and urban production is the aim of this project. The focus is on the improved flavor of the tomato. The project was jointly funded by the University of Göttingen and the University of Applied Sciences Osnabrück and is coordinated by Prof. Elke Pawelzik, Chair of Quality of Plant Products at the University of Göttingen. In Göttingen, the divisions Marketing for Food and Agricultural Products (Achim Spiller, Stephan Meyerding), Plant Breeding Methodology (Heiko C. Becker, Bernd Horneburg) and Quality of Plant Products (Elke Pawelzik, Inga Smit, Marcel Naumann) are active, and in Osnabrück, the working group Vegetable Production and Processing (Andreas Ulbrich) with doctoral students is active in PETRA. In addition to scientific participation, practice partners from the entire value chain (Gartenbauzentrale Papenburg, Culinaris, Dicke Bohne, Bunte Tomaten, Biolandhof Freese, Naturkost Elkershausen and Kompetenzzentrum Ökolandbau Niedersachsen) are also involved in the project. This is intended to directly link scientific research, practical breeding, horticultural production and trade, thus increasing the sustainability of the project.

The project is funded with 780.000 € by the Ministry for Science and Culture of Lower Saxony.

In the PETRA project, crossbreeding offspring from organic plant breeding will be tested regarding their flavor and cultivation suitability - in Göttingen under extensive ecological conditions and in Osnabrück in an intensive cultivation system. In addition, aroma profiles will be compiled for the fruits of both locations and further quality parameters will be analyzed. The focus here is on the different influence of the environment on tomato flavor. Within the framework of the project, work is also being carried out on improving breeding for flavor. This is followed by the selection of the genotypes with the best matching characteristics, which have been obtained from sensory tests, laboratory analyses and the consumer survey. As consumer demands on food are constantly changing and awareness of quality is constantly increasing, another work package includes the development of these consumer preferences when buying tomatoes.