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Spain: Tomatoes grown with half the amount of water without quality loss

Experts from the Faculty of Pharmacy and the Higher Technical School of Agricultural Engineering (Etsia) of the University of Seville have published a study in which they show that after reducing the amount of irrigation water in cherry tomato crops by more than 50 percent, the product not only maintains its quality (commercial, nutritional and functional), but there is even an increase in the content of carotenoids, which are very interesting compounds.

This has been published by the reputable international journal Food Chemistry. The conclusions reached are the result of a three-year study, which has focused on two varieties of cherry tomatoes and nine other types of tomatoes, both in autumn and spring cycles.

"Controlled deficit irrigation," which is what this technique is called, consists in reducing irrigation as much as possible during the crop's most resistant stage and increasing the water supply as the plants become more sensitive to stress.

"It is not about using half the amount the water just like that. You need to carry out a study on the plant's hydric condition and, when well-aware of its needs, you irrigate the crop in an appropriate way at the optimum moment," explains Mireia Corell, professor of Agroforestry Sciences.

Producers will benefit from this methodology, which is breaking new ground in the field of hydro-sustainable products with a reduced consumption of both water and energy. It will also bring added value to the consumer, who will be able to buy a more environmentally-sustainable product with better nutritional qualities.

"Consumers demand healthier foods to be able to live longer and better; it's not just about increasing longevity, but about reaching our last years with a good quality of life," says Antonio J. Meléndez, professor at the Faculty of Pharmacy of the US.

Professor Meléndez leads a European research network called the "European network to advance carotenoid research and applications in agro-food and health", whose main objective is to make progress in the field of research and innovation in carotenoids through interaction and cooperation among scientists, technicians, companies and others. They are also working closely with the Ibero-American Program of Science and Technology for Development (Cyted).


Publication date: 2/22/2018



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