Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

Features Business Policy
Tomato quality depends on temperature


May 19, 2010
By Fruit & Vegetable

Topics

May 12, 2010 – A team from
the Basque Institute for Agricultural Research and Development
(Neiker-Tecnalia) has questioned the generally held belief that the quality of
tomatoes depends primarily on their exposure to natural light and states that
the most determining factor is temperature.



May 12, 2010 – A team from
the Basque Institute for Agricultural Research and Development
(Neiker-Tecnalia)
has questioned the generally held belief that the quality of
tomatoes depends primarily on their exposure to natural light and states that
the most determining factor is temperature.

The research was drawn up
by the institute’s department of agricultural production and protection and
opens up great possibilities for starting new plantations in zones where light intensity
is low due to weather conditions.

Advertisement

The findings are of
particular interest in geographic zones such as the Cantabrian mountain range
in the north of Spain, where there is frequent cloud cover and an average of
140 rainy days per year, and which could be suitable for growing greenhouse
tomatoes, despite low levels of solar radiation.

The study evaluated the
different indicators for organoleptic (taste and texture) quality and
nutritional quality, such as acidity, soluble solids, phenolic compounds, pH
and vitamin C content. To this end, the tomato plants were exposed to
photosynthetic radiation between 30 and 50 per cent less than the usual for the
sunny zones in the south of the Iberian Peninsula, at the same time as studying
other tomato plants undergoing 100 per cent exposure. Cultivation was carried
out on soil, in a greenhouse without artificial heating and shaded in a small
area so that air currents were able to homogenise the temperature within the
plantation.

The results showed that
the organoleptic and nutritional quality was very similar between the plants
exposed to greater solar radiation and those with less. Another conclusion of
the research opens up the possibility of reducing costs of heating, something
that researchers in other European countries such as the Netherlands are
working on – through the selection of seed varieties that need less energy.
According to Patrick Riga, the author of the report, “heating bills can be
reduced while obtaining the same quality of tomato;” although, as a
disadvantage, yield is less. In Riga's opinion, “growers have to choose between
production or quality.”

Researchers are now
focusing on analyzing how much the temperature can be reduced in order to cut
down on energy consumption without affecting quality parameters. These findings
can also be applied to other kinds of fruit with high nutritional value, such
as strawberries, cucumbers, melons and watermelons.


Print this page

Related



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*